Absa Bank Kenya to host SheTrades Kenya Hub for two years
(Nairobi/Geneva) – Absa Bank Kenya today signed a memorandum of understanding with the International Trade Centre (ITC) to host the ITC SheTrades Kenya Hub for another two years. This Hub is part of a network of 13 others spanning Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America.
The extended partnership aims to close the 6% gap between men and women’s access to formal financial institutions, as found in a Central Bank of Kenya survey. Women entrepreneurs in the country own nearly half of all small businesses, yet barriers to accessing finance persist.
Since the launch of ITC’s partnership with Absa Bank Kenya in 2016, more than 8,500 women have received financial literacy training and more than 10,400 women have obtained business financing support, valued at over $23 million. The partnership was instrumental in the launch of Absa’s See Her Empowered (SHE) Business Initiative in 2021, which aims to better support women entrepreneurs in accessing finance, training and mentorship for business development and market information.
During the extended two-year partnership, and through the SheTrades Kenya Hub, Absa Bank will scale up its financial offerings to women entrepreneurs.
Abdi Mohamed, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director of Absa Bank Kenya, said: ‘The SheTrades programme aligns well with our overall commitment to positively impact and grow women-owned businesses in the country by creating opportunities for them to participate in the global economy by building their capacities and delivering trainings on financial literacy and entrepreneurship.’
As part of this initiative, the Bank has a wider commitment to empower over one million women entrepreneurs across the country by 2025 with financial and non-financial support to scale up and take their businesses to the next level.
He added: ‘Our commitment to the women and trade agenda extends beyond the products and services we provide. We believe that it is our responsibility to use our voice and influence to drive meaningful change and contribute to a more just and equal society. We are thus investing in financial solutions that are designed specifically to meet the needs of women, holistically.'
ITC Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton said: ‘Absa Bank Kenya is not only ITC’s first SheTrades Hub, but it is also the first financial institution to host one of our Hubs. With access to finance being one of the most pressing obstacles faced by women entrepreneurs in Kenya and globally, we hope that more financial institutions will follow Absa Bank Kenya’s footsteps in unlocking business financing for women.’
Earlier this month, the ITC Executive Director met with the Absa Bank Kenya CEO and with Floice Mukabana, Acting CEO of the Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency, to discuss how both parties can deepen their partnership to improve women entrepreneurs’ market and financial access in Kenya.
In June, at the World Economic Development Forum 2023 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, ITC will launch its 14th ITC SheTrades Hub, which will be hosted by the Mongolian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
For more information, write to communications.ke [at] absa.africa
About ITC SheTrades - The International Trade Centre (ITC) launched the ITC SheTrades Initiative to remove barriers to women's participation in trade by working with governments, the private sector and entrepreneurs to build the business capacities of women and to create a fairer, more sustainable global economy. ITC SheTrades provides women entrepreneurs and producers with access to key knowledge, resources and networks; supports policymakers on inclusive policy reforms; and leverages public and private partnerships to amplify the impact of its work.
About Absa Bank Kenya - Absa Bank Kenya Plc is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange and is one of Kenya’s leading financial institutions. The Bank has been a major player in Kenya’s financial landscape, engaged in personal and institutional banking, bancassurance and asset management. The Bank has a regional and global footprint, which enables it to offer end-to-end financial solutions to retail and institutional clients. It has also been associated with a number of market firsts, such as the launch of the first ATM, WhatsApp banking, Sharia-compliant banking and unsecured lending. Absa Bank Kenya has presence in 38 counties. It has 83 branches, 208 ATMs and a robust internet and mobile banking platform. The bank’s purpose is Empowering Africa’s tomorrow, together…one story at a time.
About the International Trade Centre - The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
For more information, visit www.intracen.org.
Senior Strategic Communications Officer
International Trade Centre
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