NCBA Group has signed a USD50 million (about Sh6.9 billion) facility with Proparco that will enable the Kenyan financial institution to deliver on its “Change The Story” sustainability agenda.

Proparco is a subsidiary of AFD Group which focuses on developments in the private sector with the deal coming as a result of NCBA’s long-standing relationship with the AFD Group.

In 2023, NCBA Group unveiled its “Change The Story” platform, which is anchored on five strategic pillars alongside a set of 15 bold commitments.

Among pledges in the deal is mobilizing Sh30 billion of Green and Sustainable Financing, directing at least 30 per cent of the general services procurement spend to women and youth and in the process promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.

NCBA also unveiled an ambitious investment plan in a bid to expand its presence in Kenya to enhance its services to SMEs and corporate clients while also promoting financial inclusion.

The deal with Proparco will see NCBA upscale its ventures in agricultural and manufacturing sectors, and join the 2X Challenge, which enables women in entrepreneurship and SMEs.

Launched by global financial institutions in 2018, the 2X Challenge initiative seeks to improve opportunities for women and enhance financing towards realizing gender equity.

The deal will finance more than 1,600 MSMEs under the Choose Africa initiative, a program by the Agence Française de Dèvelopment (AFD) Group that supports African entrepreneurs.

The ambitious initiative will also contribute to the realization of SDG 5 on Gender Equality, SDG 8 on Decent Work and Economic Growth, as well as SDG 13 on Climate Action.

“I believe that with this partnership, we will deepen our shared goals to fostering sustainable economic development and advancing the cause of green finance, women empowerment, and SME growth” said NCBA Group Managing Director John Gachora.

Proparco is partnering with NCBA to enable it realise its sustainability agenda in Kenya, mainly green financing, women-led businesses and SMEs in line with its 2023-2027 Strategy.

“NCBA Group endorses the same goals and values as Proparco. The positive role they play to tackle climate change through green projects, as well as social inequalities, resonates with our 2023-2027 Strategy,” said Proparco Head of Financial Institutions for Africa, Emmanuel Haye.

He added: “We are certain that this collaboration will enhance financial inclusion in Kenya, especially for women entrepreneurs, as the project has qualified for the 2X Challenge.”