Dr. James Mwangi, Managing Director and CEO, Equity bank Kenya limited.- [PHOTO COURTESY]

Equity has scooped two awards at this year’s African Banker Awards 2020. It emerged the best regional bank in East Africa, and for the second year running, Africa’s socially responsible bank of the year.  

 As the best regional bank in East Africa, Equity demonstrated high performance across various metrics, both qualitative and quantitative. According to the African Banker judging panel, it excelled in terms of reaching out to new customers, offering new services, adopting inclusiveness by reaching out to the unbanked, adoption of new technologies as well as   its contribution to a stronger financial sector across the region.  

Speaking while receiving the award, Equity Group Managing Director and CEO, Dr. James Mwangi stated: “We are glad that Equity has won this award. We appreciate the recognition that our operations in the six East and Central African countries we operate in have been standardised to reflect the one Equity brand providing inclusive financial services.” 

During this Covid-19 period, the bank exhibited initiative and support for its customers’ economic plight by providing an option for customers to re-negotiate existing facilities for up to  four  years. Equity further eliminated charges on all mobile banking transactions including all Equity-to-Equity mobile bank transfers, bank to mobile wallet transfers, mobile wallet to bank transfers as well as  mobile payments for bills, utilities, shopping and  fuel in order to  encourage cashless transactions.   

Equity  also won the African Banker Awards category for the Africa Socially Responsible Bank of the Year for the second time in a row. The panel of judges sought for concrete examples of projects and initiatives within the institutions that have had a sustainable impact on the communities they are geared towards.  Identifying organisations that go beyond the philanthropic use of funds to employ their overall knowledge, resources and reputation to improve the lives of the less advantaged in society. The group through its subsidiary, Equity Group Foundation (EGF), has identified seven thematic areas to focus on that including:  education and  leadership development, food and  agriculture, health, enterprise development and  financial education, social protection, energy and  environment as well as innovation. EGF has to date mobilized over Kshs.  44.7 billion (USD 447 million) to support these initiatives.  

“Our purpose is to transform lives, giving dignity and expanding opportunities for wealth creation. We have combined financial services and doing good, social impact investments, in our business model for the betterment of our communities and we are glad that our work and the impact is being recognized,” added Dr Mwangi. 

Under the health pillar, EGF mobilised Kshs1.1 billion (USD11 million) for the purchase of personal protective equipment ( PPE) for frontline medical personnel dealing with Covid-19 patients in public hospitals in Kenya. In Rwanda, Equity contributed testing kits worth Rwf1 billion (USD 1.06 Million) to the government of Rwanda.  In Uganda, a contribution of  two  brand new Toyota double cabin pickup trucks valued at about UGX 400 Million (USD 131,500) and PPE  worth UGX 100 Million (USD 26,500). This contribution was in addition to UGX 25 Million (USD 6,625) the bank had already made under the Uganda Bankers Association.  Equity Bank Congo also donated equipment valued at Congolese Franc 1.9 billion (USD 1 Million) to the National Coronavirus Solidarity Fund (FNSCC).  Additionally, Equity Afia doctors, who are alumni of the Equity Leaders Programme  under EGF with a growing network of 30 Equity Afia medical centres in Kenya, have complemented the Government of Kenya’s  efforts towards the fight against Covid-19 with training of staff and customers through materials. Since inception, the Equity Afia clinics have treated over 200,000 patients. 

In education, EGF in partnership with Mastercard Foundation committed USD 1.93 million to facilitate Wings toFly and Elimusecondary school scholars in the continuation of  their education during the school closure period. The 13,800 beneficiary students received a solar-powered radio with a mobile phone charging unit and a lamp to enable them access broadcast education programmes as well as online teaching during the pandemic. Further, 14,600 students who include the secondary and TVET scholars received between Kshs. 3,000 and Kshs. 4,000 monthly stipend for food and other essential needs. To drive financial inclusion through a shared prosperity model, over 2.1 million women and youth have been trained in financial education while over 109,625 micro, small and medium enterprises ( MSMEs)  have been trained in entrepreneurship.  Under the Young Africa Works Programme,  Kshs. 44.2 billion  has been disbursed to 122,330 MSMEs. Other initiatives include :  638,522 peasant farmers transformed to agribusiness, 39,521 small and medium-sized farmers supported, 1.38 million trees planted and 218,581 clean energy products distributed.   

The African Banker Awards recognize reforms, rapid modernisation, consolidation, integration and expansion of Africa’s banking and financial system. Recognising the personalities and banks that are driving Africa’s rapidly transforming financial sector, the Awards bring together industry leaders from Africa and the world. They celebrate the achievements of those who are driving growth and development and creating new economic opportunities for citizens and communities all over the continent and inspire new generations of bankers who are shaping Africa’s future. 



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