The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has given Kenya, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) businesses $2.9 billion in long-term and short-term financing.
Mary Porter Peschka, IFC Regional Director for Eastern Africa, said it gave $65 million to fintech platform M-Kopa Holdings in Kenya to expand its financial services to under-banked consumers.
The fund aims to increase access to finance for small businesses, boost energy access and drive gender inclusion.
“IFC increased its investments in Eastern Africa by 61 percent in the last financial year and this financing is supporting our partners to increase lending to small businesses, expand access to green and sustainable electricity, and drive greater gender inclusion,” Peschka said.
“IFC aims to grow its work across Eastern Africa even further this year to support the region’s development agenda and the private sector’s role in building the foundation for a more inclusive and green future,” she added.
This is helping to increase access to productive assets such as solar home systems, smart phones and e-bikes, making them more accessible to customers.
IFC provided a $150 million loan to KCB Kenya to support businesses tackle the effects of climate change, with focus on financing the development of energy efficiency projects, renewable energy, climate smart projects, and green buildings.
In Tanzania, IFC launched ‘Anaweza: She Can’, a $10 million programme to empower more women across Tanzania to access financing, attain leadership positions in the private sector, and launch or grow businesses, including in agriculture.
IFC’s programme aligns with the Tanzania Development Vision 2025, the National Five Year Development Plan III (2021/22-2025/26), Zanzibar Development Vision 2050, the National Gender Policy and its Strategy, and the Tanzania commitments on Generation Equality, which outlines steps to enhance human capital, empowerment and gender equality.
The IFC invested $10 million in Nuru to expand access to renewable energy through mini-grid systems in the DRC. Nuru’s utility-scale “metro-grids” use cutting-edge technology and service, designed to provide reliable, round-the-clock renewable energy to communities in Eastern DRC.
Once completed, the installation at Bunia will be the largest off-grid solar hybrid project of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa
Sérgio Pimenta, IFC Vice President for Africa, said the lender had funded African investments to the tune of $11.5 billion between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023, across 40 countries.
“Catalysing increased private sector innovation and financing for addressing climate change, bridging gender gaps, and empowering the next generation of startup leaders has been at the forefront of our work this past year and will continue to drive our engagements as we work with partners to create jobs and opportunities for more people,” VP Pimenta said.
“We just had our Annual Meetings in Marrakech and the key message was that business as usual is not enough to confront the monumental challenges facing the world,” said Peschka.