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President Kenyatta hails Equity Bank’s regional expansion

President Uhuru Kenyatta Urged the private sector to champion regional integration and realization of the ideals of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area(AfCTA)

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The unveiling of new brand of Equity BCDC, a subsidiary of Kenya’s Equity Group Holdings Plc in the Democratic Republic of Congo.PHOTO/Courtesy.

President Uhuru Kenyatta Urged the private sector to champion regional integration and realization of the ideals of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area(AfCTA)

He spoke in Kinshasa, CONGO when he unveiled the new brand of Equity BCDC, a subsidiary of Kenya’s Equity Group Holdings Plc in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“I urge the private investors to optimize on the opportunities availed by regional cooperation frameworks such as the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to create regional supply chains” he said.

The head of state observed that the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic had created a paradigm shift in global supply chains such as health, agriculture and manufacturing.

He commended regional financial networks such as Equity Group Holdings for playing an important role in the success of regional cooperation by providing a seamless financial services intermediation across different markets.

President Uhuru also toured the towering 18 floor Equity Centre building in Kinshasa, the head office of Equity BCDC which will also serve as the head office for the Central Africa region where Equity is looking for its next phase of regional expansion.

He congratulated Equity for the milestone of its successful acquisition, integration and merger to create Equity BCDC which is now the second largest commercial bank in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The merged entity, Equity BCDC, has a balance sheet in excess of USD 3 billion and a nationwide footprint of 74 branches, 214 ATMs, 13 local dedicated desks, 3055 agents, a staff compliment of 1156 and a customer base of over one million.

With the merger, Equity Group successfully combined BCDC’s heritage of 112 years in the DRC market, with its established track record in corporate banking; together with Equity Bank Congo’s solidly strong focus on financial inclusion.

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) aims to, among other goals, create a single market, deepen the economic integration of the continent, aid in the movement of capital and people, facilitating investment, achieve sustainable and inclusive social economic development, and to encourage industrial development through diversifications and regional value chains, agricultural development and food security.

Speaking during the ceremony, Dr. James Mwangi, Equity Group Managing Director and CEO of Equity Group Holdings said, “With its size, footprint, experience, aspiration and ambition, EquityBCDC has the distinctive capacity and unique capability to significantly contribute to positive transformation in the lives of the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

He added that Large corporate clients will particularly benefit from local credit facilities to the tune of USD 40 million on a Single Obligor Limit.

“By leveraging Equity Group’s balance sheet, lending capacity on a Single Obligor basis can be set as high as USD 350 million, allowing Equity BCDC to make a real contribution to turn-key structural projects and the economy of DRC” he said.

As a subsidiary of Equity Group Holdings, Equity BCDC will add to the Groups’ capability to play a key role in regional economic development by facilitating cross border trade especially through trade finance and payments.

Dr. Mwangi  added that the expansion of Equity in the region strengthens Kenya’s position as a regional financial hub and diversifies the country’s exports beyond agricultural produce, manufactured goods and raw materials to include financial services.

Celestin Mukeba, the Managing director of EquityBCDC said “EquityBCDC gives our over one million clients unrivaled access to a deep and wide franchise of banking expertise, channels and products, thus making it the largest existing financial services network in the DRC.

 

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Atheists fault petition seeking to deregister society

Atheists in Kenya have protested a petition that they say seeks to create a notion that Kenya is a nation by and for believers in God only.

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President of the Atheists in Kenya Society, Harrison Mumia

Atheists in Kenya have protested a petition that they say seeks to create a notion that Kenya is a nation by and for believers in God only.

Former Juja MP, Dr Stephen Ndichu has moved to court seeking to have the Atheists in Kenya Society suspended on grounds that its continued existence is unconstitutional.

In a statement, the society’s president, Harrison Mumia says the petition is an assault on religious freedom and an insult to the diversity of the Kenyan people.

“We find the petition repugnant to a good conscience,” he stated adding that Dr Ndichu is a Christian fundamentalist who seems to harbour paranoid fantasies about the dangers of atheists existing in Kenya.

He further accused Dr Ndichu of seeing enemies where there is none and that the society was surprised, but not shocked as religion has historically inhibited progress.

He vowed that the society would do everything within its power to defend its right to remain a registered society and urged Kenyans to support fighting the petition.

On Sunday, the society said it will be writing to President William Ruto seeking an invitation to State House, just like the evangelical denominations.

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Uhuru Gardens ready for Madaraka Day fete, says PS Kibicho

The principal secretary said they would be visiting the gardens every Thursday until June 1 to ensure all loose ends are tied up properly, promising that the celebrations will be very colourful.

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Madaraka Day

This year’s national Madaraka Day celebrations at Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi County will be open to 30,000 people, up from 10,000 in 2021.

Permanent Secretary in the State Department for Interior, Dr Karanja Kibicho, said this follows the relaxation of COVID-19 containment measures.

“Children will also be allowed in on the celebrations this year, and we expect county celebrations to happen too,” the PS said while on an inspection tour of the venue.

The PS said the government decided to move the celebrations from the County rotational back to Nairobi because it will be the last event for the current administration before it exits office.

“Because of the significance of this particular Madaraka day, being the last for this regime, we decided to celebrate it at Uhuru Gardens to break the tradition of celebrating it in counties,”

He revealed that preparations were currently at 90 percent complete and expressed confidence that all will be set for the event as the country marks 59 years of self rule.

The principal secretary said they would be visiting the gardens every Thursday until June 1 to ensure all loose ends are tied up properly, promising that the celebrations will be very colourful.

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Queen Elizabeth mourns Kibaki as a great Statesman with commendable legacy

Kibaki will be buried at his home in Othaya, Nyeri County on Saturday.

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Queen Elizabeth II has mourned former President the late Mwai Kibaki eulogizing him as “a great statesman”.

“I was sorry to receive the news of the death of Mwai Kibaki. He had a lifelong record of service to the Kenyan people. It will be of deep sadness to your country to have lost a great statesman, but Kenya can take pride in the legacy of his leadership. I send you and the people of Kenya my condolences at this loss,” the message read.

The British High Commission further affirmed its close ties to Kenya and renewed its assurances to the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“The British High Commission avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya the assurances of its highest consideration,” the High Commission said.

The late Kibaki passed away on 21 April 2022, aged 90.

President Uhuru, who issued a proclamation that he would be granted a state funeral with full civilian and military honours, announced his death.

Kibaki will be buried at his home in Othaya, Nyeri County on Saturday.

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