CARE, Equity Bank and Orange to partner in Kenya

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

A top Swiss NGO for global poverty, CARE International, Kenya’s Equity Bank and France’s Orange unit in the country announced on Monday in a press statement that they are partnering to bring better access to mobile phones in the country through reducing overall costs.

CARE village savings and loan associations (VSLAs), also known as savings groups, will be able to make deposits and withdrawals at Equity Bank and Orange agents’ locations. The number of agents throughout the country has not been disclosed.

The accounts will return 2.5 percent annual interest rate for customers.

“As of June 2010, CARE International reported total assets of EUR 592 million (USD 782 million). As of December 2010, Equity Bank reported total assets of USD 1.66 billion and 525,000 active borrowers. As of December 2011 Orange’s sales stood at EUR 45.3 billion (USD 60.1 billion),” the companies and the NGO said.

As of now, some 25 Kenyan savings groups have enrolled in the program with 175 saving groups scheduled to start in September 2012.

Lauren Hendricks, Executive Director of CARE’s Access Africa program, reportedly said “Community-managed VSLAs are an important first step to financial inclusion for many of the poorest households. VSLAs help vulnerable members develop financial skills and build assets. For many members, the merger of mobile payments with financial products specialized for groups will allow VSLAs to become an on-ramp for formal financial inclusion.”