British Firm Acquires Majority Stake in Kenya’s Choice Microfinance Bank

Wakanda Network Ltd, a private limited company has acquired 85 per cent stake in diaspora-backed Choice Microfinance Bank effective October 22, 2021, the Central Bank said Tuesday.

A British firm, Wakanda Network Ltd which is a private limited company has acquired 85 per cent stake in diaspora-backed Choice Microfinance Bank effective October 22, 2021, the Central Bank said Tuesday.

“This follows CBK’s approval on September 21, 2021, under Section 19 (4) of the Microfinance Act and approval by the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury and Planning on October 5, 2021, pursuant to Section 19(3)(b) of the Microfinance Act,” the CBK said in a statement.

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

Mr. Wei is a successful Chinese 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.

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 categorised as a small microfinance bank with a market share of below 1 per cent 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 customer drive towards any time anywhere services. In response to this changing terrain, CBK has been working with MFB’s to transform their operations,” said CBK in a statement.

“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 termed the transaction as a critical component of Choice MFB’s transformation plan.

“It will strengthen Choice MFB and support the stability of the microfinance banking sector,” added CBK.

Standard Media reported that Choice Microfinance reported a KSh26 million net loss in the financial year ended December 2020. It had KSh98 million customer deposits, KSh54 million assets, KSh6 million loan book and KSh5 million borrowings in the review period.