The Co-operative Bank of Kenya has achieved a remarkable milestone by securing the title of SME Financier of the Year in Africa.
This prestigious accolade was bestowed upon the bank during the International Finance Corporation’s grand awards ceremony held in Mumbai, India.
Gideon Muriuki, the bank’s Managing Director and CEO, expressed his gratitude for the award, stating,
“We are encouraged by this recognition, which serves as a testament to our commitment in understanding and crafting competitive solutions to empower SMEs in realizing their aspirations.”
This notable achievement follows the bank’s announcement in July regarding its allocation of Ksh.14 billion towards lending for small businesses.
This initiative was made possible through a seven-year Tier II facility facilitated by the German development finance institution, DEG.
In March, the Co-operative Bank reported a remarkable 30% increase in annual profits and provided an update on its support for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The bank has been dedicatedly serving this vital sector since 2018, with over 26,000 customers availing themselves of their MSME support package last year. This has brought the total number of MSME customers served since 2018 to more than 170,000.
Over the past year, the bank disbursed Kshs. 25.4 billion (£159 million) to MSMEs through its mobile E-Credit solution, constituting a substantial 16.9% of its total loan portfolio.
In Kenya, micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) play a pivotal role in the economy, employing a staggering 90% of the workforce and contributing significantly to job creation, economic growth, and development.
The country boasts a thriving community of more than 7.4 million MSMEs, providing livelihoods for approximately 14.9 million Kenyans across various sectors.
These prestigious awards are organized by the SME Finance Forum, a global network comprising over 250 prominent banks, non-bank financial institutions (NFBIs), fintech companies, and development banks.
This forum, established by the G20 in 2012, is overseen by the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
Matthew Gamser, CEO of the SME Finance Forum, expressed his optimism about the impact of such competitions, stating, “This competition fills me with great optimism that we are making significant strides in closing the SME finance gap.”