Agriculture is the backbone of the Kenyan economy, employing approximately 75% of the rural
population, and making up 34% of the country’s gross domestic product. However, commercial
lending to the agricultural sector remains dis-proportionally low. This funding gap limits the ability of
producers and processors to invest in sustainable production practices, further compounded by the
economic fallout caused by the global pandemic.
It is at the back of this, that eco.business Fund has provided its first investment in Kenya in the
amount of USD 10 million to Co-operative Bank of Kenya (Co-op Bank), one of the leading
commercial banks in the country. The subordinated loan will be on-lent to sustainable
agribusinesses, contributing to the fund’s mission of conserving biodiversity, promoting the
sustainable use of natural resources, and mitigating and adapting to climate change.
The investment will provide much-needed financing for businesses to enhance sustainable measures in their
agricultural practices, particularly important in light of the challenging operating environment
created by the COVID-19 crisis.
Co-op Bank is the third largest commercial bank in Kenya, and the primary bank for agricultural
cooperative societies. Through this new investment, the eco.business Fund and Co-op Bank will
provide necessary credit to sustainably certified agribusinesses, such as those in the coffee, tea, and
horticulture sectors, Kenya’s main agricultural exports.
By financing green measures such as solar and hydroelectric installations for tea factories that reduce reliance on fuel wood, and cold storage solutions that reduce post-harvest losses, the partners hope to boost sustainable production
practices and conserve the unique ecological landscape of the country.
Commenting on the sign-off of this partnership, the Group Managing Director and CEO of Co-op Bank
Dr. Gideon Muriuki said: “Right from our founding as a bank for agriculture co-operatives, we have
always strived to support farmers in their journey to achieve sustainable livelihoods. This new
partnership with eco.business Fund that makes available USD 10 Million for on-lending to farmers is
a winner on many fronts; it provides financing that is structured to suit the financing cycles of
agriculture, and also comes with the support mechanisms to assist farmers to make a successful
pivot towards sustainable, climate-smart agriculture.”
Dr. Jens Mackensen, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the eco.business Fund, stated: “We are
excited about our fist investment in Kenya: A country rich in biodiversity and opportunities for
sustainable development. This new partnership with Co-op Bank promises to be a fruitful one as the
bank is well positioned to act as an enabler of sustainable production practices. Only by providing
tailored financing to the agricultural sector, a key driver of economic activity and sustainable
development in Kenya, can we collectively promote green finance with the goal of generating
positive environmental and social impact.”