IFC, Co-op Bank and Philips in US$281m deal to support SMEs in health sector in Africa

KENYA – The International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of World Bank Group, has announced partnerships with health technology firm Philips and the Co-operative Bank of Kenya to help small businesses in the health sector purchase essential medical equipment and strengthen their response to Covid-19 and other pressing healthcare challenges.

The deal is designed to provide risk-sharing facilities to help small businesses access up to US$281 million in loans and leases.

The partnership with is aimed at supporting healthcare providers in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda.

The loan size to smaller healthcare providers which serve more than half of Africa’s population, including low-income patients, is expected to range from US$5,000 to US$2 million to help them lease or purchase medical equipment. 

Presently, smaller healthcare operators in Africa cannot secure bank loans due to their perceived high investment risks, meaning they cannot afford medical equipment, renovations, or to recruit qualified medical personnel.

“The partnerships by International Finance Corporation, Philips and the Co-operative Bank of Kenya, are the first under the IFC-led Africa Medical Equipment Facility”

The partnerships by International Finance Corporation, Philips and the Co-operative Bank of Kenya, are the first under the IFC-led Africa Medical Equipment Facility. 

Co-operative Bank of Kenya CEO Gideon Muriuki, said the deal with IFC and Philips will allow Co-operative Bank to extend credit to a wider range of investors in the health sector, who previously have found credit availability a challenge. 

“Health expenditure is one of the largest budget items in many households in Kenya; every support to make it easier for the sector to prosper and benefit our people is welcomed,” Muriuki said. 

The facility includes an advisory services programme 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.

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