KCB Partners with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation & European Investment Bank to Empower Women

Kcb Partners With Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation & European Investment Bank To Empower Women

KCB struck a significant deal with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the European Investment Bank, securing €30 million (approximately Sh4.2 billion) in funding aimed at supporting women entrepreneurs and startups in Kenya.

The funds are earmarked for dispersal through KCB’s Female-Led and Made Enterprises (FLME) initiative and the KCB Foundation’s 2jiajiri program. FLME, launched with a budget of Sh250 billion two years ago, is designed to provide women entrepreneurs with flexible, accessible, and affordable financial solutions.

The partnership signifies a comprehensive approach to addressing the challenges faced by women and young entrepreneurs in navigating the complexities of starting and growing businesses. FLME has already proven to be instrumental in fostering stronger ties with KCB’s female clientele, understanding their businesses, enhancing their access to financial resources, and offering crucial business advisory services.

To date, KCB has disbursed loans totaling Sh111.6 billion to over 600,000 FLME customers, constituting a substantial portion of KCB’s SME loan portfolio at 35%.

Greta Bull, Director of Women’s Economic Empowerment at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, emphasized the critical need for improved access to credit for women entrepreneurs in Africa. She highlighted the transformative potential of this partnership in reshaping the banking and financial landscape, driving economic growth, and promoting gender equality.

Statistics indicate that African women exhibit a high rate of entrepreneurial activity globally, yet they encounter persistent barriers such as limited access to startup capital, support networks, and gender-focused investment strategies.

Thomas Östros, Vice President of the European Investment Bank, underscored the significance of this collaboration in setting a benchmark for gender-focused financing programs across Africa. He emphasized the importance of addressing the $42 billion financing gap for female entrepreneurs through innovative approaches.

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Annastacia Kimtai, Managing Director of KCB Bank Kenya, acknowledged the challenges hindering women’s economic potential, including the lack of tailored financial products and institutional capacity. She stressed the financial industry’s role in promoting female financial inclusion through initiatives like financial literacy, digital banking, and improved credit access.

The partnership received accolades from European Union Ambassador to Kenya, Henriette Geiger, highlighting its contribution to gender equality and socio-economic development in Kenya and beyond. The collaboration is expected to pave the way for future microfinance engagements across East Africa and the wider continent, supported by technical assistance and risk-sharing mechanisms to lower financing costs and enhance women’s access to finance.

This initiative aligns with the European Union’s commitment to sustainable development and gender equality, reflecting a concerted effort to bridge gender gaps and empower women economically in Africa.

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