The European Investment Bank today agreed to provide EUR 110 (KSh 12 billion) million for investment by companies across East Africa under a three new partnerships launched in Nairobi earlier today. This is the largest ever support for investment by entrepreneurs and small business ever announced in East Africa by the EIB.

European Investment Bank Vice President Pim van Ballekom formally signed the three credit lined during a visit to Kenya to mark the 10 year anniversary of local operations of the world’s largest international public bank and to highlight an expected increase in support for climate related projects in the region.

Under the new initiative the European Investment Bank, will back investment by micro, small and medium enterprises under three dedicated credit lines with the African Banking Corporation, NIC Bank and CRDB Bank that reflect different investment needs.

The new programme will support job creation and economic growth in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi by providing long-term local and foreign currency loans and support investment across a range of sectors, including agriculture.

“Investment by small companies and entrepreneurs is essential for economic growth and to create jobs. The European Investment Bank is pleased to strengthen our support to ensure that East African companies can unlock new business opportunities and build on previous successful engagement with leading local banks. Since the EIB’s regional office for East and Central Africa opened 10 years ago professionalism and enthusiasm of the Nairobi based team has strengthened our support for entrepreneurs and small business across the region.” said Pim van Ballekom, European Investment Bank Vice President.

“We are very happy to be partnering again with EIB and securing from them a second credit line . We first received Ksh. 770 million from EIB in 2012, which we have disbursed to our SME clients for longer term and at affordable rates. We have seen the immense potential SMEs have, and how access to affordable credit can turn around small entrepreneurs to become business leaders in their respective sectors. We are excited by this new credit line. It is a demonstration of the confidence that EIB has in ABC Bank, and it will bolster our capacity to continue lending to the SME segment to empower them to harness their market potential and contribute to the national economy. We look forward to the making of more success stories” said Shamaz Savani, ABC Bank Group Managing Director.

“We are delighted to deepen our partnership with EIB in supporting the development of SME and Midcap in various sectors of Tanzanian economy especially agriculture. SMEs in Tanzania contribute immensely to the growth of our economy and CRDB Bank has been playing a major role in the growth of local entrepreneurs especially women entrepreneurs and is keen in supporting SMEs to grow their businesses and improve their competitiveness.” said Saugata Bandyopadhyay, Deputy Managing Director Operation & Customer Service at CRDB Bank.

“As stated previously, we are accelerating our strategy to grow our Retail and SME Business. The EIB funding will support our push into the fast expanding SME sector,” said Mr. John Gachora, Group Managing Director, NIC Bank.

The three new lending programmes were formally launched in Nairobi by European Investment Bank Vice President Pim van Ballekom.

The three credit lines reflects the European Investment Bank’s broad support for private sector investment across Africa that addresses the varied investment needs of firms ranging from individual small entrepreneurs to more established companies employing hundreds of people.

The EIB agreed a new EUR 5 million credit line with ABC Bank that will support investment by companies in both Kenya and Uganda.

Companies here in Kenya will benefit from a new EUR 50 million credit line, agreed with NIC Bank Kenya.

Whilst investment in Tanzania and Burundi through a EUR 55 million loan to CRDB Bank will both support Tanzania based firms and includes EUR 3 million for companies based in Burundi. This is the EIB’s second engagement with CRDB.

Last year the European Investment Bank Group provided nearly EUR 22 billion to improve access to finance by small business around the world. In Africa nearly EUR 3 billon has been provided by the EIB for investment by small business and entrepreneurs since 2005.

Since 2005 the Nairobi presence of the European Investment Bank responsible for Central and Eastern Africa has supported more than EUR 3 billion (KSh 325 billion) of investment both across the region and elsewhere in Africa. Over the last decade the European Investment Bank has provided more than EUR 18 billion for investment across Africa.