Create avenues to support SMEs, President Kenyatta urges IFC

By Ronald Owili

Small and medium-size enterprises will be the biggest beneficiaries after the International Finance Corporation announced its intention to double funding to Kenya.

This emerged during when International Finance Corporation CEO Philippe Le Houerou met President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House Nairobi.

An SME financing report released by the Central Bank of Kenya last September, SME lending portfolio was estimated at 332 billion shillings, representing 23.4 percent of commercial banks’ total loan portfolio.

This was the highest when compared to countries such as Nigeria, South Africa, Rwanda and Tanzania.

Local banks also offered the highest amount of loans to SMEs at 28.2% while those whose majority stake is held by foreign ones allocated 16.1% of loans disbursed.

This has now risen exponentially with continued lending to SMEs which employs more than 80% of the population.

President Kenyatta urged the IFC to create more avenues for supporting the development of Small and Medium Enterprises, noting that SMEs are an avenue for growth and is also a source of Kenya’s economic stability.

Le Houerou said: “We want to be part of the solutions for Kenya. We want to scale up the intervention in terms of both the number and the amount of dollars.”

Besides lending to SME, the president also identified unemployment and infrastructure as an area still facing deficit needing financial assistance despite the strides the government is making.

This is in reference to the road annuity programme which has lacked financial support too investors with interest to undertake the project.

Others include security where the president said: “We are looking for more innovative ways to get the private sector to provide better housing for our security forces as part of our efforts to motivate and improve their morale.”



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