KENYA – Co-operative Bank of Kenya (Co-op Bank) has partnered with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to improve healthcare delivery by enabling medical centres to acquire advanced equipment at favorable costs.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private investment arm of the World Bank Group, recently promised to help finance small businesses in healthcare in Africa.

The deal signed under IFC’s Africa Medical Equipment Facility aims to offer the small and medium-sized healthcare enterprises (SMEs) local currency loans for purchase or lease of medical equipment that can improve the quality and reliability of care provided.

The businesses including clinics, hospitals and laboratories with a maximum of 300 employees will access up to 90% asset financing of up to KSh200 million (US$ 1.76m).

The repayment period for loans accessed under the scheme extends to 60 months as opposed to the usual 36 months while the interest rate is at 10% compared to the banking industry’s average of 12.1%.

As part of the agreement, the global financier has also partnered with original equipment manufacturers and the Kenya Healthcare Federation to provide training on purchase of vital medical equipment for the businesses.

Philipps, GE Healthcare and Karl Storz are the initial participating medical equipment manufacturers with plans to include more vendors in the course of the year.

Training of the healthcare SMEs will enable them to navigate the planning, budgeting and procurement process to access advanced medical equipment they need to serve patients.

During the launch of a small business training programme under Medical Equipment Facility, IFC Country Manager for Kenya Amena Arif observed that the post-pandemic recovery needed to be supported at all levels within the health sector.

The financed asset will be the primary security and all risk insurance cover will be provided through Co-op Bank Bancassurance,” she asserted.

The medical facility comes with advisory services program to help small businesses in the healthcare sector strengthen their medical equipment procurement processes, financial management competencies and business planning.

The advisory program will also help participating financial institutions to strengthen credit underwriting skills for the healthcare sector,” she further stated.

In recent progress, Co-op Bank partnered with IFC and health technology company Philips to avail KES 30 billion (US$263,943,420) to SMEs in the health sector.

The partnership supports healthcare providers in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda.

The project aims to help the businesses to purchase essential medical equipment as well as strengthen their response to COVID-19 and other pressing healthcare challenges.

Moreover, IFC announced that digital technology companies operating in Kenya among other African countries stood a chance to gain US$25 million equity investment.

IFC intends to achieve its goals by providing inclusive financing and boosting recovery by developing the capital markets.

It has invested in about 125 local firms so far, acquiring significant stakes in some companies, but with most of the investments in the form of long-term loans.

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