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Kenya Commercial Bank has set aside Sh10 billion in the form of loans to support the investment efforts by Kenyans in the diaspora, KCB’s Chief Business Officer and Managing Director for Kenya, Samuel Makome, has said.
The money will be channelled through the Kenya USA Diaspora Savings and Credit Society (Diaspora Sacco), one of the few such diaspora saccos the Kenya government has sanctioned.
Speaking to members of the sacco on Saturday in Atlanta, Georgia, during the sacco’s general assembly, Mr Makome said the money from the bank would immediately be available to registered members of the sacco who have identified projects that they would like to implement in Kenya.
Mr Makome, who was the guest of honour during the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the bank and the sacco, said Kenya’s largest bank will fund the sacco over a period of between two and three years.
“We encourage sacco members who are duly signed up to apply for loans as the money will be available immediately,” he said.
Analysts have hailed the signing of the MoU as an important milestone because it opens up doors for direct investment in Kenya by the those in the diaspora, noting that even though most Kenyans living abroad have always wanted to invest, risks associated with fraud and lack of access to easy and cheap loans have been a big hindrance.
“The signing of the MoU is a master stroke because there are very many Kenyans living here in the US who have been waiting for such an opportunity,” said Mark Otieno, a Kenyan who lives in Baltimore, Maryland.
SAVING VERSUS CONSUMPTION
Mr Makome asked members of the diaspora to embrace a culture of saving and investing in long-term projects.
“You must re-evaluate your investment methods. You have to learn from other diaspora communities that believe in a culture of saving as opposed to one of consumption. Our size of thinking is what limits us and what matters is what you think of yourself,” he said.
In his welcoming speech, the chairman of the sacco, Frank Kioko said its management would embark on a comprehensive five-year strategic plan to steer the society in a direction that affirms its aspiration to become the biggest and most profitable in Kenya.
Mr. Makome was accompanied by Mr. Peter Kathanga, General Manager, Mid Corporate, Vincent Aberi, the head of Diaspora Banking and Mr. Winston Muchira, KCB Relationship Manager.
During the ceremony, the Acting Deputy Commissioner of Co-operatives Stanley Ongeti, who was the presiding officer during the elections of the Board of Directors of the management committee, emphasised the need for the members to be disciplined in their savings and help turn the sacco into one of the biggest banks in the region.
“I encourage the committee to remember that the core value and responsibility of the sacco is to encourage membership to invest their savings in the society so as to borrow between five and 10 shillings out of every one shilling that you invest in the society.”
In his financial Statement, the treasurer, Mr. Ralph Kilondu, presented the sacco’s budget for the year 2014-2015 to enable the sacco to serve its members spread out in all the 50 states in the US and Kenya effectively.
– Daily Nation