Businesses & Financial News

Chinese-owned Wakanda acquires majority stake in Kajiado-based lender

By Monica Muema

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Tuesday announced the acquisition of 85 percent shareholding of Choice Microfinance Bank Limited (Choice MFB) by Wakanda Network Limited (Wakanda) effective October 22, 2021.

This follows CBK’s approval on September 21, 2021 by the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury and Planning on October 5, 2021.

Wakanda was incorporated in the United Kingdom on February 26, 2020, and is wholly owned by Chinese Robin Duan Wei.

A reknowed entrepreneur, having founded Mobvista Inc., a digital advertising company listed at the Hong Kong Exchange and Clearing Limited with a market capitalization of USD 11.7 billion as at August 31, 2021. He also owns mobile digital lenders across Kenya and Nigeria.

Choice MFB was granted a licence by CBK on May 13, 2015, to carry out community microfinance banking business within Kajiado County.

The MFB has its Head Office and one branch both located in Ongata Rongai Town, Kajiado County. It is categorized as a small microfinance bank with a market share of below 1 percent of the microfinance banking sector as at October 31, 2021.

Since the first MFB became operational in 2009, the Kenyan financial sector landscape has transformed significantly. This has been underpinned by advances in technology, innovation and customers drive towards Anytime Anywhere services. In response to this changing terrain, CBK has been working with MFB’s to transform their operations.

All MFB’s formulated transformation plans in 2020, to adapt to the New Normal. These plans are anchored on review of business models to be customer centric, leveraging on technology and innovation, and strengthening capital and liquidity buffers.

CBK welcomes this transaction that is a critical component of Choice MFB’s transformation plan. It will strengthen Choice MFB and support the stability of the microfinance banking sector.

 

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