African Guarantee Fund for Small & Medium-sized Enterprises (AGF) and Stanbic Bank Kenya have today signed a Loan Portfolio Guarantee Facility to increase financing for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Kenya. The Portfolio Guarantee Facility of KES 1 Billion will allow Stanbic Bank Kenya expand their lending capacity and coverage to SMEs.

Speaking on behalf of the African Guarantee Fund, the Group Director of Business Development, Mr. Franck Adjagba said, “Our partnership with Stanbic Bank marks yet another milestone in our journey in empowering SMEs in recognition of the pivotal role that they play in economic development, innovation, and job creation. Many Kenyan SMEs struggle to access financing due to their perceived higher risk, which has further deteriorated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Reducing this risk will help these businesses access financing required for growth. We are pleased to partner with Stanbic Bank as it expands its lending to SMEs including Women-led and climate-focused SMEs.”

Stanbic bank’s investments in financial inclusion are underpinned by the bank’s purpose of driving the country’s economic growth, and are further aligned to Social, Economic and Environmental (SEE) impact areas. In doing so, the bank has successfully rolled out a number of initiatives to empower SMEs on various fronts.

Speaking during the signing ceremony, Head of Business and Commercial Clients at Stanbic Bank Kenya, Ms. Florence Wanja said, “Stanbic Bank and indeed Standard Bank Group remains committed solving the holistic needs of our SME client segment and partnering for sustainable growth. SMEs contribute more than 30% of Kenya’s GDP, and close to 50% of new jobs created annually, and therefore, our partnership with the African Guarantee Fund is a significant milestone in contributing towards accelerating their growth. As a bank, we are constantly looking for ways to contribute to the growth and development of the country through partnerships in line with our purpose, Kenya is our home, we drive growth.”

The partnership agreement between  African Guarantee Fund and Stanbic Bank targets women- owned businesses, as well as those in the sustainable energy sector. In addition to the financial offering, the guarantee fund will offer technical capacity building to these SME groups. The fund is expected to impact hundreds of SMEs across the country in the next 5years.

The African Guarantee Fund is indeed the missing middle that bridges the gap for SMEs across the continent to enable them access required financing for their growth. In Kenya, AGF has so far unlocked financing worth USD 200 million, impacting more than 4,000 businesses.