The Co-operative Bank of Kenya has been named the best financier of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Africa in 2023.
The awards were announced on Thursday evening at the Global SME Finance Forum in Mumbai, India.
Co-op bank bagged the Gold Award for the SME Financier Of The Year In Africa ahead of Tanzania’s NMB and Kenya’s Equity Bank, which came second and third with Silver and Platinum award respectively.
Organized by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, the Global SME Finance Awards 2023 recognizes financial institutions and fintech companies for their outstanding achievements in delivering exceptional products and services to their SME clients.
“In collaboration with IFC and other partners, we have taken time to listen, study, and build a most competitive value proposition for SMEs intended to support them realize the goals they have set for themselves,” said Co-op Bank CEO Gideon Muriuki.
“We are very encouraged by the successful outcomes we continue to see in the marketplace. This award is for Kenyan SMEs, too,” Muriuki added.
Co-op Bank has been pushing to support Kenyan SMEs, a sector that was strongly hit by the impacts of Covid 19 pandemic.
In July, the lender set aside a Sh14.1 billion kitty for affordable loans to small businesses after securing a $100 million loan deal with German investment corporation DEG to finance SMEs in the country.
The long-term facility is expected to ease SMEs’ access to finance, representing around 40 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and most of its workforce.
In the half year ended June 2023, the lender reported a net profit growth of 5.8 percent to Sh12.1 billion from Sh11.4 billion a year earlier.
Total interest income increased 11.9 percent to Sh31.9 billion, helped by the loan book expanding by 10.7 percent to Sh365.3 billion.
In the review period, the lender disbursed Sh41.3 billion in loans, translating to an average of Sh6.9 billion per month.