Strategic Move: UBA's Plans for Kenyan SMEs
United Bank for Africa (UBA) has unveiled its strategic plan to expand lending operations in Kenya, the largest economy in East Africa. This strategic decision follows UBA securing a trade finance facility worth $150 million (Sh22.6 billion) from the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), a Pan-African trade bank. The bank aims to utilize this financial support to prioritize lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) facing challenges due to rising interest rates.
Boosting SMEs: UBA's Financial Support
In an official statement, UBA outlined its commitment to utilizing the $150 million trade finance facility to finance trade and trade-related transactions for its clients in Kenya and other markets where it operates. The primary focus is to provide increased financing for SMEs across various sectors of the African economy, mitigating the adverse effects of the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
Strategic Partnership: Afreximbank's Role and Objectives
Denys Denya, the Executive Vice-President of Afreximbank, emphasized that the funding is a response to the growing demand for trade finance support among UBA's clients. This initiative is expected to enhance confidence in the settlement of international trade transactions for strategic imports. Denya highlighted the pivotal role of this funding in supporting SMEs, particularly in the manufacturing sector, to boost production and contribute to economic growth and development in Nigeria.
CEO Insights: UBA's Commitment to Intra-African Trade
UBA's Group Chief Executive Officer, Oliver Alawuba, expressed that the facility will significantly enhance their efforts to promote intra-African trade. The ongoing challenges posed by the war in Ukraine have impacted trade activities, making this financial support crucial for facilitating business transactions.
AfCFTA Opportunities: Unlocking New Possibilities
Traders in Kenya and other African nations are eagerly anticipating the opportunity to engage in trade within the new continent-wide free trade area. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) aims to unite 1.3 billion individuals in a $3.4 trillion economic bloc, making it the largest free trade area since the establishment of the World Trade Organization.
“We have a long-standing beneficial relationship with Afreximbank, we are delighted with our partnership as we jointly envision better dealings for our customers,” said Alawuba.
UBA's Pan-African Presence: Fostering Connections and Growth
UBA, a prominent Nigerian bank with over 1000 branches, operates 20 subsidiaries throughout Africa, including countries like Ghana and Ivory Coast in the west, Kenya and Uganda in the east, and Mozambique and Zambia in the south. Additionally, UBA maintains representative offices in London, Paris, and New York.
With a robust presence in these global financial hubs, UBA aims to foster connections between individuals and businesses across Africa through various banking services such as retail, commercial, and corporate banking. The bank also provides innovative cross-border payments, remittances, trade finance, and ancillary banking services.