Kenya, May 20, 2020. There was fear, panic, layoffs ─ and a lot of hope!
There was COVID-19 spreading and putting people in partial lockdown. The Eastern African country was enforcing a dusk-to-dawn curfew, banning social get-togethers, and bringing international flights to a half. Total confirmed COVID-19 cases were 1029, with 50 deaths.
Nearly at the same date, Sauti Sol, the well-known Kenyan afro-pop band, was spreading a clear message to the nation [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQEByF4dtY0]:
“Cos I’m certain brighter days are yet to come
Ain’t no question that tomorrow there’ll be good times
I believe with every beat of my heart”
A society where hope is spreading amidst a global pandemic, where people look forward to tomorrow even when today is a bit insecure. Typical Kenya!
Businesses That Fared Badly
Like every other area in Kenyan society, the business sector has been facing the outbreak of COVID-19 with a mix of courage, resilience, and hope.
However, businesses responded differently ─ with some companies closing down, some resorting to layoffs, some endeavoring to adapt, and other firms seizing the opportunity to grow and even thrive.
When it comes to the dark side of the situation, Kenya has gone through several bad developments since the outbreak of corona. At least one million citizens have seen their jobs disappear or have been put on unpaid leave. Transport, communication, tourism, horticulture and education are the worst-hit sectors. At Kenya Airways, the pay of most employees was reduced by 75% while the carrier is waiting for a government supportive package, and the lifting of travel restrictions.
Businesses That Fared Well
On the other hand, many businesses have been able to survive and even thrive against a background of a spreading vicious pandemic.
The coronavirus has brought about a lot of supply chain disruptions, which resulted in the Kenyan market lacking various products, especially in the area of medical supplies and other protective gear. As a result, Kenyan local businesses in the medical device industry have seized the opportunity to start producing and manufacturing protective gear and other products. These products ─ which the country previously used to import ─ include personal protective equipment, body bags, hand sanitizers, masks, alcohol, and other products aimed to combat the virus.
In another sphere, the home delivery services sector has been remarkably thriving since the COVID-19 breakout, witnessing a rising trajectory all across the country.
A Company That Swam Against the Tide!
At such a hard time when many businesses across the globe were going through a mood ranging from caution to insecurity to sheer panic due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we need to shed some light on an East African firm whose response to the calamity turned out to be strikingly different.
It’s EquaLife Capital [http://www.equalifegroup.com/equalife-capital.html] ─ an African venture debt investment fund that provides asset financing, working capital and bridge financing to start-ups and innovative small and growing businesses.
In the middle of the pandemic, EquaLife Capital has daringly moved to quickly introduce an offering that it believes will gain ground under these uncertain circumstances. The Nairobi-based investment firm has initiated a USD 20 million Africa Venture Debt Covid-19 Relief Fund ─ that aims to extend financing to East African companies that look for capital to cope with cash flow challenges related to the crisis. The company is presently seeking investors to commit capital to the fund.
While under normal circumstances EquaLife Capital would give loans with an interest rate that ranges between 15% and 20%, the investment company’s new Relief Fund will make investments that range from USD 200,000 to USD 2 million, with interest rates of between 5% and 10% per annum.
Interestingly, EquaLife Capital wishes also to generate a financial ROI, even though it would be lower than the normal one. The venture debt investor is planning to provide those generous interest rates to businesses by raising capital for the fund from a combination of commercial investors (that demand ‘normal’ returns) in addition to NGOs (that have significantly lower, if any, return expectations). With these 2 “return structures” in the fund, EquaLife Capital will be able to pass on lower rates to the entrepreneurs.
A big bravo for those who spread hope, help others and swim against the tide!
AfroLingo and Kenya
AfroLingo has always been involved in helping businesses to thrive in Kenya, South Africa, and all across the African continent.
Over the past 12 years, AfroLingo has earned an impressive reputation for delivering premium translation and interpretation services that empower businesses to thrive in a wide diversity of markets all over Africa.
Today, we, at AfroLingo, are sincerely calling on all Kenyans to continue staying safe during the Covid-19 period. More importantly, we wish that Kenyan businesses, across all industries all over Kenya, will continue to respond to the pandemic in a positive, resilient and productive manner.
Don’t hesitate to contact us so we can discuss how our translation and localization services may help your business grow and thrive despite the pandemic. Click here to request a free quote.