IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced a $50 million loan to Diamond Trust Bank Kenya Limited (DTB) to support its borrowers, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), who have been affected by the economic challenges of COVID-19.
The funds, which will be directed to Kenyan businesses across a range of sectors, are being provided under IFC’s global $8 billion fast-track COVID-19 facility. The facility was launched in March to protect jobs and support businesses with working and trade-related capital as economies grapple with the challenges of the pandemic.
Nasim Devji, Group CEO and Managing Director of DTB, said, “As an SME bank, we are aware that these businesses are among the hardest hit by the pandemic. This facility will enable us to help SMEs address their cash flow challenges, which is a key concern as businesses need easy access to short-term liquidity. We urge our SME borrowers to take advantage of the facility to ensure their survival during these tough times, as we remain committed to their development.”
Manuel Moses, IFC Country Manager for Kenya, said, “IFC’s partnership with DTB Kenya is part of our strategy to help businesses in Kenya manage the impacts of COVID-19 so they can continue providing essential goods and services. IFC is committed to helping countries across Africa meet the unique challenges of COVID-19 and also speed the process of recovery.”
In April, Kenya’s Central Bank reported that SMEs had been hard hit by the economic slowdown caused by COVID-19 in part because of their challenges accessing fresh capital. The World Bank Kenya Economic Update projects that Kenya’s gross domestic product will fall this year due to the negative impacts of COVID-19, underscoring the urgent need to support the country’s smaller businesses.
IFC has earmarked $2 billion of its $8 billion COVID-19 facility to the IFC Working Capital Solutions Program to provide funding to emerging-market banks so they can help businesses shore up their working capital.
IFC COVID-19 facility will support existing clients in the infrastructure, financial, manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, and other sectors vulnerable to the pandemic.
Airtel Selects Ericsson to Modernize its 4G Network in Kenya
Airtel Africa is expanding its strategic partnership with Ericsson to enable 4G coverage in Kenya. With Ericsson’s Radio Access Network (RAN) and packet core products for 4G, Airtel subscribers will experience enhanced quality of voice and data.
The network modernization deal, signed in August 2020, is in line with the Kenyan Digital Economy Blueprint Vision 2030 which aims to provide robust connectivity in rural areas and facilitate e-commerce platforms. The modernization deal will drive the simplification and upgrade of the existing network and future-proof it for the anticipated rapid mobile expansion in the country.
With Ericsson Radio System and Packet Core solutions, Airtel Kenya’s network will have 4G coverage, while driving enhanced use cases in both the consumer and the enterprise segments. Ericsson technology shall make the network in Kenya ready for 5G deployment.
Prasanta Das Sarma, CEO at Airtel Kenya says: “Robust and secure communications are an essential component of a digital society in Kenya. We are firmly anchored to the strategy of delivering reliable connections across the country and are looking forward to expanding the high-quality mobile broadband services to our subscribers.”
Fadi Pharaon, President of Ericsson Middle East and Africa, says: “Together with Airtel, we will implement this project that aims to establish an advanced LTE network in Kenya, providing Airtel’s customers an enriched experience – both in the consumer and business segments. Through this partnership, we reaffirm our ambition to set #AfricaInMotion by partnering with Airtel to grow and support an increasingly digitalized society in Kenya.”
Furthermore, Ericsson will deploy its Kathrein Mobile Communication Antenna portfolio which will help provide additional enhancement to the network’s robustness whilst Ericsson’s technologically advanced network management system, Ericsson Network Manager will be utilized to support Airtel in managing the network seamlessly by integrating various network elements on single platform.
Rwanda Gets GSMA Nod for MWC Africa 2021
GSMA has announced it will host MWC Africa in Kigali, Rwanda in 2021, bringing the leading global event series to the continent for the first time.
GSMA Director General, Mats Granryd, announced the news during his opening keynote address at Thrive Africa, the GSMA’s virtual event platform, which held from the 29 September to 1 October 2020.
MWC21 Africa will bring together the leading names from business and technology to become the continent’s most connected and influential event. This premier event is part of the GSMA’s flagship series of MWC events, which includes editions in Barcelona, Shanghai and Los Angeles.
“I am proud of what we have built with Thrive and the previous Mobile 360 events, which have helped shape the continent’s connected digital future,” said Granryd. “From 2021 we will celebrate MWC Africa, joining our world-leading platform for thought-leadership and technology, recognising the important role Africa will play in our connected future.”
“Around the world, access to mobile internet is helping close the digital divide. Its transformative power is nowhere more obvious than in Africa. That is why I’m excited about welcoming the world to Kigali next year to shine a light on African mobile and tech innovation.”
This year, Thrive Africa will examine the role of connectivity in powering a better future, and how this can accelerate to achieve the best outcomes in terms of health provision, economic benefits and inclusion. Conceived by the GSMA, Orange, MTN, ZTE and Mastercard, Thrive Africa will bring Africa’s leaders together for a virtual event to create the continent’s most connected and influential technology experience. The event is also sponsored by Huawei, Intelsat, MFS Africa and, Safaricom.
During the event, speakers will also discuss Africa’s readiness for the 4th Industrial Revolution: in the next five years, the continent will host 1.3 billion devices and IoT connections, but increased connectivity will be essential to maximise the available benefits.
Liquid Telecom Accelerates Kenya’s Digital Transformation with Azure Stack Cloud Solutions
Leading pan-African telecoms group Liquid Telecom today announces the deployment of its Azure Stack Hub in Nairobi, Kenya. The availability of the hub within Kenyan borders will enable businesses to meet local data regulatory requirements and efficiently run latency sensitive business applications.
This investment showcases Liquid Telecom’s commitment to Kenya’s digital transformation by empowering businesses with a cloud solution that is locally available, highly secure, and enables real time business continuity with flexible adoption models.
Adil El Youssefi, Regional CEO of Liquid Telecom East Africa, said, “Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, we had been enabling businesses across the continent to implement their digital transformation strategies. With the increasing demand for data to be hosted locally, we have deployed Azure Stack cloud solution as we continue to foster economic and technological advancement in Kenya and the East Africa region at large”.
According to David Behr, Group Chief Digital Officer, Liquid Telecom, “Our commitment to the East Africa region is reaffirmed with the opening of this hub in Kenya. With Liquid Azure Stack, we offer a fully managed service, so customers can focus on their ever-evolving business needs while we take care of the rest”.
Over the last two years, Liquid Telecom has taken the centre-stage in driving Africa’s digital transformation with our complete managed Cloud offering on Azure and Azure Stack, backed by our extensive and resilient fibre infrastructure across the continent.
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