Kenya’s top financial institution Co-operative Bank is one of the lenders that will benefit from Sh32.4 billion ($300 million) kitty from the World Bank’s private investment arm, International Finance Co-operation (IFC).
In partnership with a medical equipment manufacturer Philips, the lender will help healthcare providers acquire medical equipment to strengthen their response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The loan to smaller healthcare providers is expected to range from $5,000 to $2 million (Sh540,000 to Sh216 million) to help them lease or purchase equipment.
Besides Co-op Bank, financial entities from Côte d’Ivoire, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda will also benefit from the fund.
Currently, smaller healthcare operators across Africa cannot secure bank loans due to their perceived high investment risks, meaning they can’t afford medical equipment, renovations or recruit qualified personnel.
“Many smaller healthcare businesses in Africa don’t have the equipment they need to respond to Covid-19 and deliver other vital services,” said IFC Managing Director Makhtar Diop.
Gideon Muriuki, Co-operative Bank chief executive (pictured) said the pact with IFC and Philips will allow the lender to extend credit to investors in the healthcare sector, who previously have found credit availability a challenge.
“Health expenditure is one of the largest budget items in many households in Kenya. Every support to make it easier for the sector to prosper and benefit our people is welcomed,” said Muriuki.
The facility includes an advisory services programme to help small businesses in the healthcare sector strengthen their medical equipment procurement processes, financial management competencies and business planning.
Last month, the lender received Sh1 billion loan from a German financier e.co Business Fund for lending to investors in agriculture including those in the coffee tea and horticulture.