The Co-operative Bank of Kenya has been named SME Financier of the Year in Africa by the International Finance Corporation at its global awards ceremony in Mumbai, India.
“We are encouraged by this award as a demonstration that we have listened, studied and built competitive solutions for SMEs to realise their goals,” said the bank’s MD and CEO Gideon Muriuki.
The award follows an announcement by the bank in July that it had set aside Ksh.14bn towards lending for small businesses, with a seven-year Tier II facility arranged by German development finance institution DEG.
In March, the bank reported a 30% increase in annual profit, and updated members on its lending to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). It has been serving the sector since 2018, and last year, over 26,000 customers took up the package – bringing the total number of customers since 2018 to more than 170,000.
In the past year, the bank has disbursed Kshs. 25.4bn (£159m) to MSMEs through its mobile E-Credit solution, making up 16.9% of its total loan book.
In Kenya, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are key part of the economy, employing 90% of the workforce and contributing to job creation, economic growth, and development. There are more than 7.4 million MSMEs, employing approximately 14.9 million Kenyans in various sectors.