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Equity Group Debuts $4.5B Pandemic Business Recovery Initiative

Kenya-based Equity Group Holdings announced Monday (Nov. 8) the debut of a 500-billion shilling ($4.5 billion) loan effort aimed at pulling small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) out of the economic doldrums triggered by the pandemic, Reuters reported.

That number exceeds the pledge CEO James Mwangi made in March to set aside about 400 billion shillings ($3.6 billion) over the next five years, according to the report. On Monday, Mwangi told investors the money should give about 5 million businesses a financial boost and is part of the group’s “post-COVID resilient plan.”

In March 2020, Kenya’s central bank said lenders could restructure loans for companies devastated by the pandemic until March 2021. Payments resumed on more than two-thirds of the loans restructured in that year, and another 39 billion shillings in loan payments will start again by March 2022, the report stated.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s decision to lift the curfew across Kenya in October that was implemented in March 2020 is also expected to jolt the country’s economic recovery, the report stated.

Meanwhile, FinTech payments company Flutterwave is expanding across Africa with a foothold in at least 33 African countries, where it serves almost 300,000 customers, including Uber,, Flywire and Facebook.

Read more: Big-Name Partnerships Advance Continent-Wide Ambitions of Pan-African Payments Startup Flutterwave

Flutterwave became Africa’s fourth unicorn — a private company valued at more than $1 billion — in March after a $170 million Series C funding round that brought its fundraising total to $225 million since it launched five years ago.

Founded in 2016, the Silicon Valley-based startup specializes in individual and consumer transfers and has grown to become one of the fastest growing payments companies in the world, processing about 100 million transactions valued at over $5.4 billion since its inception.

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