By Julius N. Uma
June 6, 2012 (JUBA) - The Kenyan Commercial Bank (KCB) on Wednesday unveiled a SSP 200,000 ($40,000) cheque in support of the dilapidated Juba military hospital, as part of the institution’s corporate social responsibility to the community.
- SPLA Gen. Pieng Deng Majok (R) holding a cheque with Kenya Central Bank (KCB) staff at the ceremony in Juba, Central Equatoria State, South Sudan 6 June 2012 (Julius N. Uma/ST)
The event, held at the military hospital premises in Juba, the South Sudan capital, kicked off with a tour of the visibly under-funded health facility, which was run jointly by Khartoum and Juba during the interim period of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement until South Sudan seceded in July last year.
While speaking at the occasion, John Kimanthi, KCB Sudan managing director lauded the relationship between East Africa’s largest commercial bank and South Sudan, which he said commenced before signing of Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005.
The CPA ended over two decades of a bloody civil war fought between southern rebels and Sudanese government and gave South Sudan greater autonomy for a six-year period, followed by the right to independence through a referendum, which took place last year.
Kimanthi said that his bank began full operations in South Sudan in May 2006, when Southern Sudan was a semi-autonomous region of Sudan, after obtaining official license from the Central Bank in Khartoum. The fist two branches were in Juba and Rumbek, the provincial capital of Lakes State.
Currently, KCB has 19 branches spread all over the 10 states of the world’s newest nation, employing over nearly 330 staff, and 80% of which are South Sudanese nationals.
“It has not been an easy walk,” Kimanthi told Sudan Tribune, while applauding the “strong commitment and persistence” from KCB staff at all levels.
“Our future plan and vision is geared towards becoming the preferred financial solutions provider in Africa, with a global reach,” he added.
- John Kimanthi, Kenyan Central Bank (KCB) Sudan Limited Managing Director during an interview with Sudan Tribune, June 6, 2012 (Julius N. Uma/ST)
Susan Omanga, the chairperson KCB Foundation underscored the fundamental roles played by a fund initiative, especially in supporting communities in the areas such as education, health, humanitarian need response, and environment as well enterprise development.
In the education sector, for instance, KCB has supported South Sudanese students through scholarships, constructed schools and provided school facilities, including reading materials.
“As a bank, we strongly believe that an educated society is an empowered society,” she said amidst applause.
On the environment, KCB has reportedly planted 31,000 trees throughout South Sudan, while the donation to the hospital is meant to support the health ministry in its efforts to improve service delivery in the country.
Peter Muthoka, the outgoing KCB board chairman emphasised the importance of strong partnership with countries where the bank currently operates. To-date, he said KCB boasts of 223 branches spread throughout Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and South Sudan.
He pledged the banks continued commitment towards supporting South Sudanese, saying the country will make an immense contribution to the East African Community (EAC) once it becomes a member.
“KCB is here to stay with the people of South Sudan,” noted Muthoka, adding KCB is committed to helping South Sudan, where it reportedly controls 42% of the banking industry, achieve its economic independence.
Meanwhile, Gen. Pieng Deng Majok, the deputy chief of general staff in-charge of administration thanked KCB for its generous contribution to the health facility, pledging continued cooperation between the army and the financial institution.