Chinese billionaire buys Kenyan bank

Robin Duan Wei is a renowned businessman who founded a company worth Sh1.3 trillion

 Chinese billionaire Robin Duan Wei.

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

According to a press release from CBK on Tuesday, December 14, this follows approval on September 21, 2021.

The transaction was also given a greenlight approval by National Treasury and Planning Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani on October 5, 2021.

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

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 Sh1.3 trillion as of 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.

Standard Media reported that Choice Microfinance reported a Sh26 million net loss in the financial year ended December 2020. It had Sh98 million customer deposits, Sh54 million assets, Sh6 million loan book and Sh5 million borrowings in the review period.

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 of 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.

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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