Unaitas Sacco has secured Kes 1 billion funding from Dutch private equity Oikocredit International for onward lending to small and medium enterprises.
In a press release issued by the Sacco, they said the funds will be repaid over six years, allowing them to offer loans to over 5,000 farmers’ groups and cooperatives, individual farmers, farm input dealers and transporters.
“As we launch the Unaitas SME Support Fund together with our partners Oikocredit, we have the conviction that the fund will propel SMEs into a recovery path and rapid growth. We commit to sustain our business growth through member-focused service delivery,” Unaitas Board of Directors Chairman James Kinoro.
The funds are part of the Sacco and Dutch PE firm’s efforts to help firms recover from an economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to massive layoffs, pay cuts, and shutdowns amid a decline in sales and customer traffic.
Unaitas said that it will factor the loan risk profile of businesses before lending out to protect the investment at a time of heightened defaults rates that have soared to 14.2 % at the end-April 2021 from 12.5% at the beginning of the pandemic (March 2020).
Caroline Mulwa, Oikocredit’s Investments manager in East Africa noted that the Sacco has been their partner since 1997 will rely on its history in funding small businesses shunned by other lenders. She further added that Oikocredit is proud to associate with its growth and support for SMEs.
”Their unapologetic focus on smallholder farmers, low-income housing and small and medium enterprises, resonates with Oikocredit’s mission of providing financial access to low-income households and supporting employment generation,” Caroline Mulwa.
The Sacco also noted that they are looking forward to remaining customer-centric and continuing to invest in small and medium scale businesses while marinating good relations with their partners.
Commenting on the partnership, Unitas CEO Martin Muhoho said they are determined to drive financial inclusion in an underserved market.
“We will endeavour to remain customer-centric and continue in our journey of investing in cutting-edge technology and remain a great friend and partner,” Martin Muhoho.