I&M Bank Limited is celebrating 5 years of its German Desk – a Financial Support and Solutions programme.
Formed through a strategic alliance between I&M Bank and DEG, Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH, the German Desk has been providing specialist banking and financial advisory services for German businesses, operating, and seeking to establish operations in the East African region and their local business partners.
According to the Bank, the Desk has provided financial facilities worth more than 16 million USD (over KShs 1.8 billion) since its establishment, enabling investments into German/European technology, as well as relieving working capital constraints for clients’ local subsidiaries and partners.
Besides providing financing, also the Desk has served as a one-stop shop in the provision of I&M’s banking services, including bank account opening, foreign exchange, trade finance and transaction banking services as well as other requisite needs of companies engaged in German-Kenyan business activities.
Speaking during celebrations to mark the occasion, Kihara Maina, CEO, I&M Bank Limited noted that the Desk’s impact has been felt across the region, which bodes well for German organizations looking to establish a footprint in East Africa.
“The German Desk gives us great pride and over time it has enabled us to develop links with German firms, that at the end of the day is of benefit to the greater Eastern Africa,” said Mr. Maina. “Also, the Desk reinforces the fact that I&M Bank is a one stop financial institution that places the needs of our customers at the forefront of our innovation in the region.” he added.
The recent expansion to Uganda through the acquisition of Orient Bank Limited, now gives our German Desk clients more investment opportunities while promoting extended trade flows within the East African region. Further with I&M Group’s strong footprint in the East African region, coupled with its wide array of best-in-class financial services, the German Desk has helped complement growth expansion efforts for German companies operating in the region.
Mrs. Antje Steine, DEG Country Director Kenya, also attended the 5th year’s celebrations. In her welcome speech, Mrs. Antje emphasized the role of the German Desk as a perfect complement to DEG’s investment finance activities in East Africa, by providing German companies easy access to the whole range of local banking services and solutions.
The Bank announced a number of additional milestones during the celebrations; to-date, 34 companies have benefitted from the German Desk solutions, whilst over 30 expatriates have benefitted from other financial solutions such as insurance, investment services, wealth management and other banking services.
I&M Bank looks to further enrich the German Desk financial solutions offering and recently has focused its efforts on providing solar energy financing for companies wishing to enter the renewable energy sector. This is a key component in building business synergies between the Kenyan-German business community, as German businesses are keen on promoting sustainability practices. The Bank, through solar energy financing, has been targeting customers keen to invest clean energy generation.
Further, the German Desk has established a link to the AfricaConnect program from the German Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development (BMZ), implemented by DEG, to attract German (and EU) Foreign Direct Investments into Kenya (and Africa) through attractive, risk-based loan schemes.
These developments are underpinned by the fact that I&M Bank is the only bank in East Africa that has the German Desk – Financial Support and Solutions program. The Desk offers a variety of services including Trade Finance solutions for importers and exporters, corporate banking, wealth management, investment advisory services, personal transaction accounts in different currencies, insurance, and financing.