, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 12 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged banks to work with the government to make credit affordable to Kenyans.
The President said the government was working hard to reduce the cost of lending by removing administrative bottlenecks. He asked financial institutions to reciprocate by lowering interest rates on loans.
“Banks and other financial institutions need to work in partnership with the government to make credit both accessible and affordable. This will attract a bigger customer base,” the President said.
The President was speaking on Wednesday during a meeting with senior officials of the Standard Chartered Bank Group, who were led by the bank’s global chairman, Sir John Peace, at State House, Nairobi.
President Kenyatta said the Jubilee administration is focused on making Kenya a regional financial hub.
He cited the laying of fibre optic cables, the launch of the Standard Gauge Railway and upgrading of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as some of the projects that will create a good business environment to attract more investment.
The President said the government is keen on promoting intra-Africa trade, saying the continent has a massive market that has not been fully exploited.
“That is why we put together the foreign affairs and international trade dockets in one ministry. 60 percent of our foreign policy is focused on trade and economic growth,” the President said.
He welcomed public-private partnership in the implementation of key projects that will help improve the lives of Kenyans.
“There is room for partnerships in most of the projects that we want to fast-track for the benefit of the people of Kenya,” the President said.
Sir Peace assured the President of his bank’s commitment to working with the Government to make credit affordable.
The StanChart Group chairman agreed that it was for the best interest of both the financial institutions and customers to lower interest rates and make credit accessible.
He said his bank had a wide network and expertise which it was ready to use to help grow Kenyan businesses.
“We will invest much more here because we share the Government’s commitment to making Kenya a regional financial hub and appreciate what has been done to improve the investment environment,” Sir Peace said.
Sir Peace was accompanied by the chair of StanChart Kenya Board of Directors, Anne Mutahi, the bank’s Africa Chief Executive Office Diana Layfield, outgoing StanChart Kenya Chief Executive Officer Richard Etemesi and new CEO, Laming Manjang. – Story by PSCU.