President Uhuru Kenyatta commended Kenya’s Equity Bank for its growing continental presence, saying the financial institution’s expansion helps unite Africa and expand its economic freedom.
“Today, the Republic of Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are forging stronger ties through the merger of the Banque Commerciale du Congo (BCDC) and Equity Bank Congo (EBC).
“This is a rare moment of regional and continental pride, as we see our local businesses come together in the spirit of one Africa, one people,” President Kenyatta said.
The head of state spoke Wednesday in DR Congo while presiding over the official inauguration of the office building renamed Equity BCDC in central Kinshasa.
“Our ancestors fought to ensure not only political freedom, but also economic freedom. Political freedom is assured; economic liberation is the task of our time, ”said President Kenyatta.
Kenya’s Equity Group first entered the Congolese market by acquiring Procredit Bank in 2015 and over the years has consolidated its position to become the second largest bank in DR Congo with a national presence of 74 branches.
The bank, which acquired the name Equity BCDC following its merger with Banque Commerciale du Congo (BCDC), has a balance sheet of more than $ 3 billion and a customer base of more than one million.
Once again, President Kenyatta reaffirmed Kenya’s commitment to forging closer economic and social relations in the region and across Africa, especially as the world continues to suffer the ravages of Covid-19 .
“No country has ever achieved prosperity by isolating itself from international trade and integration. Bilateral and multilateral economic partnerships produce enormous mutual benefits, including more quality jobs, higher incomes, innovation and expanding markets, ”he said.
The president praised Equity BCDC for its monumental growth in DR Congo and challenged other Kenyan companies to emulate Equity Group’s growth model.
“I am proud to say that Equity BCDC is making consistent progress on these fronts; by bringing about monumental and positive change by creating opportunities for all. It is a model that other corporate entities should follow, ”said President Kenyatta.
Foreign Affairs CS Raychelle Omamo, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Equity Group, Professor Isaac Macharia, CEO of the Bank Group, Dr James Mwangi and Governor of the Central Bank of DR Congo, Deogratias Mutombo, also spoke at the inauguration ceremony.
Dr Mwangi congratulated President Kenyatta on being a champion of regional integration and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA), saying the head of state’s efforts had encouraged Kenyan private sector actors to venture into the region and the continent.
“We sincerely thank you, Mr. President, for having defended regional integration and the framework of the African free trade area, allowing the private sector to develop its regional ambitions”, declared the very accomplished banker.
The CEO of Equity Group said he hopes his bank’s successful expansion in the region and beyond will help inspire other Kenyan private sector entities to look beyond the country’s borders.
“We hope that the steps taken by Equity and others to become regional players will inspire the private sector to venture out,” said Dr Mwangi.
At the event, which was also attended by Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa and the Kenyan Ambassador to DR Congo Dr George Masafu, the CEO of Equity Group assured President Kenyatta of his bank’s commitment to be an excellent brand ambassador for Kenya in DR Congo.
“We reaffirm our commitment to upholding the image and brand of our country, Kenya, in the way we conduct our business in a professional and ethical manner in order to keep the doors open for others by earning the trust of our communities. ‘welcome,’ said Dr Mwangi.
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