Absa Bank Gets New Partners To Grow Women-led SMEs

by Business Watch Team

Absa Bank Kenya has today partnered with financing platform Melanin Kapital and the African Guarantee Fund (AGF) to improve access to finance for women-owned and led SMEs through the joint program, ‘TUUNGANE 2X Na Absa.’

Initially, over 600 SMEs will be invited to go through the digital credit process and credit-readiness program run by Melanin Kapital, and apply for a loan from Absa Bank that will be guaranteed by the AGF. The targeted businesses will have access to Absa loans starting from Ksh 1 million worth of capital to scale their activities.

In addition to financing, the program will provide these SMEs with sustainability training, capacity building, mentor matchmaking, and networking activities to prepare them to get access to credit and grow their business sustainably.

Absa recognizes that as a financial service institution, they have a huge role to play in sustainability, especially in supporting underserved businesses that have no access to finance.

Speaking during the signing ceremony, Absa Bank’s Business Banking Director Elizabeth Wasunna said: “As a bank, we remain committed to fully supporting SMEs as they contend with unique financial constraints such as inflation, rising dollar rates, and various global shocks that are affecting their operations and services. As a partner for their growth, we have maintained focus on addressing the systemic barriers that stunt their growth through different channels, including strategic partnerships that bring their possibilities to life.”

African Guarantee Fund’s Group Director of Structured Finance Nishdeep Sethi said the unique partnership brings together four major types of entities with a common goal of impacting women SMEs.

“As the implementing partner of the Guarantee for Growth program under the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative, AGF is very delighted to be part of this collaboration that goes a long way in enabling us to meet our goal of bridging the gender financing gap in Africa. Our partnership with Absa Bank Kenya and Melanin Kapital will support women SMEs by not only unlocking financing but also providing technical assistance which are both two key pillars of the AFAWA program,” said Ms. Sethi.

“It is a great milestone for a fintech like Melanin Kapital to partner with international organizations like Absa and AGF to be able to use our technology to enhance financial inclusion in the country, in particular for women businesses. Our team remains convinced that innovative partnerships like those between fintechs and traditional financial institutions can help drive more financing toward the most underserved communities. We look forward to more partnerships to be able to finance an inclusive and green economy across the region.” Melanie Keita, CEO Melanin Kapital, speaking during the signing ceremony.

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