Equity Group Plc said it intensified its ‘shared prosperity’ business model in the first half of 2021 by investing US$ 496 million (approx Sh54.3 billion) in social impact projects through Equity Group Foundation.
The Group said the projects are anchored around the Foundation’s key pillars, namely: health, energy and environment, food and agriculture, enterprise development and financial inclusion, education and leadership development, and social protection.
Equity Group Managing Director and CEO Dr. James Mwangi said he believes the Group’s principle of putting people before profits has greatly contributed to the Group’s impressive performance in the just-released half-year financial results.
“We recognize that beyond a regulator license we also get a license from our host communities and we have continued to treat them as significant stakeholders and invest in them through our shared prosperity programme,” said Dr. Mwangi
In the health sector, the Group said it rolled out a massive Covid-19 program of protecting frontline health workers in 56 county and national referral hospitals and 60 faith-based hospitals through an elaborate initiative to provide Personal Protective Personal Equipment (PPE).
This support, done in collaboration and partnership with the Kenya Covid-19 Fund Board, will go on for a period of 3 years for County and National Referral hospitals and will carry on for a period of 18 months for the faith-based hospitals that are designated Covid-19 management facilities.
The Group has also scaled its Equity Afia health franchise to 41 medical centres operated by 38 medical doctors and hopes to record 600,000 patient visits by end of the year.
The Group has over the last two years scaled the Wings to Fly Scholarship Program (funded by Mastercard Foundation, Equity Bank, KfW and other partners) with 18,000 Elimu Scholarships by the Government of Kenya with the support of World Bank bringing the Secondary School Scholarships to 37,000. In 2021, 86 percent of the Wings to Fly graduates attained university entry grades.
The Equity Leadership Program has thus far benefitted 17,000 scholars, 893 being beneficiaries of Global Scholarships and the balance attending Kenyan Public universities and TVETs.
In its efforts to conserve the environment, Equity continued with the tree-planting initiative launched in 2019 that aims to see 35 million trees planted by 2024. This is in support of the national government plans to increase and maintain the country’s forest cover at 10 percent. So far, 7 million trees have been planted.
In addition to tree planting activities, Equity through its foundation encourages conservation measures especially in schools and smart use of natural resources by expanding forest cover, improving water security, access to clean energy products and promoting the use of renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies.
It is providing financing for one million clean energy devices, offering to transform 30,000 schools that use wood fuel for cooking in their kitchens to use LPG. So far, 273,635 clean energy products have been distributed through this initiative.
The Group has continued to offer support to the Government, UN Agencies and donor community to reach 3.3 million households with cash payments under the Social Safety Net Program. The Group has intensified effort to transform peasant farmers with agri-business and enhance the financial and entrepreneurial capacity of over 3 million enterprises.
This comes at a time when the bank has announced a 98 percent growth in half year profits to Sh17.9 billion up from Sh9.1 billion the previous year.
Mwangi attributed the performance to defensive and offensive strategy adopted by the Group at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic to create resilience, agility and recovery has been very effective in positioning, navigating and driving performance.
The offensive growth strategy saw deposits register a 51 percent growth to Sh820.3 billion up from Sh543.9 billion, while long term borrowed funds grew by 78 percent to Sh102.3 billion up from Sh57.6 billion.
Net Loans and advances grew by 29 percent to Sh504.8 billion up from Sh391.6 billion, while investment in Government securities grew by 46 percent to Sh315.5 billion up from Sh216.4 billion resulting in 50 percent growth in Total Assets to Sh1.12 trillion up from Sh746.5 billion.
The aggressive growth strategy effected by the Group resulted into a 33 percent growth in topline Total Income to Sh51.6 billion up from Sh38.7 billon driven by a 26 percent growth in Net Interest Income of Sh31.2 billion up from Sh24.6 billion and a 45 percent growth in Non-Funded Income of fees, commission and transactions to Sh20.4 billion up from Sh14.1 billion.