Absa Bank Kenya PLC has announced a KSh10 billion fund to advance credit to women-owned small and medium enterprises over the next five years as part of the new customer value propositions under the Absa brand.
The women fund is part of the bank’s commitment towards advancing diversity and inclusion by empowering women with financial resources and capacity building to grow their businesses.
The money will be availed to women entrepreneurs through the existing banking products including unsecured and secured loans, trade finance, asset finance, property finance and working capital facilities.
Women form over 50% of the local and global population and account for a significant percentage of the SME sector. However, their participation in national economic development is often stifled by limited access to financial resources and social-cultural restrictions. We are confident that this proposition, coupled with the additional interventions we continue to make, will go a long way in boosting their growth. Absa Bank Kenya Managing Director, Jeremy Awori
The fund was announced during a Women in Business Forum organised in conjunction with the International Trade Centre (ITC) as part of the SheTradesKE Programme which the bank has been implementing in Kenya over the last four years.
Additionally, the bank announced the launch of the Wezesha Express, a new proposition designed to speed up the turn-around-time for processing loans. Under this proposition, the bank committed to processing SME loans of up to KSh3 million within 48 hours, from application to having the money in your account.
“As an organisation, our purpose is to bring possibilities to life, and we do this by connecting peoples’ dreams and aspirations to the financial resources and services they need to accomplish them. As such, we are committed to continuing actively contributing to the development of women-owned enterprises because they play a significant in driving economic growth and creating jobs,” Mr Awori said.
According to ITC, women-led SMEs represent 20% of the businesses involved in international trade. Through the SheTrades initiative, ITC is planning to bring more than 3 million women led businesses to market by 2021.