Absa Re-Affirms Commitment To Western Region With Empowerment Tour
“We shall be hosting close to 200 SMEs in Kisumu with a keen focus on identifying and exploiting opportunities for growth.”
More than 1,000 SMEs in the Western Kenya region are poised to benefit from a business empowerment tour by Absa Bank Kenya in partnership with the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI).
The tour, which will traverse Kisumu, Kisii, Bungoma, Trans Nzoia and Uasin Gishu Counties, officially kicked off in Kisumu City during a stakeholder engagement session with the Kisumu County Government and business communities from the lakeside.
Speaking during the launch of the tour, interim Absa Bank Kenya PLC Managing Director Mr. Yusuf Omari said the campaign is aimed at building the capacity of businesses in the Western region as part of Absa’s commitment to continue working with the people of Kenya to achieve shared success and bring new possibilities to life.
“We shall be hosting close to 200 SMEs in Kisumu with a keen focus on identifying and exploiting opportunities for growth. As an enabler of business, we understand that empowering SMEs makes a substantial contribution to livelihoods and fosters inclusive growth for the region,” said Mr. Omari.
The bank has disbursed over KES50 billion over the last five years in loans through the Wezesha Biashara Program repositioning it as an enabler for small, medium and micro enterprises, and as a result recording double-digit growth from the sector in the last one year alone.
In addition, the bank has impacted over 20,000 women businesses in the last one year through the Women in Business proposition that seeks to empower over 1 million women by providing unsecured lending of up to KES 10 million, payable over 5 years for existing borrowers and KES 7 million for new borrowers payable in 4 years.
While lauding the County Government of Kisumu for setting up an investor friendly environment for the private sector, Mr. Omari added that the bank had entered into strategic partnership to drive grassroots engagement with businesses from both an industry and institutional level touching on key sectors such as agriculture, blue economy, logistics, tourism, mining and energy.
“We have partnered with KNCCI to provide mentorship and networking opportunities to businessmen and women across Kisumu County as part of our efforts to support enterprise development. On the forum’s agenda are critical issues like how to formalise business, access the right business products as well as ready markets for their goods and services,” he added.
Kisumu County CEC for Finance and Planning Hon. George Omondi Okongó commended Absa for its ongoing SME outreaches and highlighted partnership opportunities with banks for the development of the County.
“There are opportunities for our County government to partner with banks such as Absa towards enabling a thriving business community, boosting revenue collection solutions and timely payments of pending County bills. We look forward to working with Absa,” said Hon. Okongó.
Earlier this year, in partnership with the KNCCI, we upskilled over 1000 women entrepreneurs in Nairobi, Coast, Western, Nyanza and the Rift Valley regions, training them on business fundamentals such as sustainability, fundraising, book-keeping, and networking to transform them into profitable operations.