ABC Fund invests in four African microlenders; Kenya’s Paylend gets seed money

 ABC Fund invests in four African microlenders; Kenya’s Paylend gets seed money

The Agri-Business Capital Fund (ABC Fund) said Thursday it has invested €6.4 million ($7.2 million) via debt in four microfinance providers across Mali, Kenya and Uganda.

The fund has committed €2.4 million and €1 million, respectively, to the savings and credit cooperatives Nyesigiso in Mali and EBO in Uganda. It has also committed €2 million and €1 million, respectively, to Kenyan credit-only microfinance institutions Premier Credit Kenya and Yehu.

The ABC Fund is a blended finance impact investing vehicle managed by Bamboo Capital, Injaro and Agri Terra. It has supported several African businesses this year. These include Kenyan agri-tech startup Apollo Agriculture in June and three agribusiness organisations in Burkina Faso, Mali and Ivory Coast in May.

Nyesigiso is a network of rural savings and credit cooperatives that collects savings from members and provides them loans and microcredits. With over 260,000 members and a presence in six of Mali’s nine regions, Nyesigiso is the country’s second-largest microfinance institution with one of the largest rural farmers networks. The ABC Fund’s financing will help provide longer-term facilities to its members and increase the agriculture portfolio size by a third.

EBO is a savings and credit cooperative society with nearly 48,000 members. It provides financial services to almost 12,000 borrowers, most of whom are smallholder farmers operating predominantly in the agriculture sector in rural Uganda. Out of EBO’s six branches, five are based in rural towns. The cash injection from the ABC Fund will enable it to provide more than 2,000 new loans to smallholder farmers.

Yehu provides financial services to disadvantaged communities in rural Kenya. The company serves more than 30,000 clients, almost a quarter of which are operating in agriculture.

Premier Credit Kenya provides credit to individuals and SMEs in Kenya. The company employs over 1,300 people. The ABC Fund’s loan will allow the company to extend a further 10,000 loans to agriculture clients.

Paylend

Kenyan fintech Paylend has raised a seed funding round of $2 million from Next Chymia Consulting HK Ltd, an Asia-based company that provides blockchain applications, consulting services and training.

Founded in September 2019, Paylend says it has digitized more than 10,000 SMEs with access to credit for products and services besides crowdfunding tools for consumers.

Led by Eliutherius Juma, Paylend will use the money to grow in Kenya and enter Tanzania, Zambia and Nigeria as part of its expansion plan for the next three years.

Vivek Sinha

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