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FACTS GES© Case Study

Kenya & Uganda: Financial Access Commerce and Trade Services (FACTS)

Supply chain financing company in East Africa


Founded in 2015, Financial Access Commerce and Trade Services (FACTS) specializes in providing short-term working capital to SMEs, agribusinesses and emerging entrepreneurs in Kenya and Uganda that have limited access to finance from commercial banks. In East Africa, banks only serve ~20% of the US$30B SME funding need and FACTS fills this gap through its supply chain financing (SCF) offerings. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, SEAF provided FACTS with an emergency loan to provide financing to key sectors such as agriculture and healthcare that experienced an increased need for financing or faced a lack of financing options due to the risks caused by the pandemic. The financing gap has threatened the closure of many businesses, many of which serve as sources of many families’ livelihoods, and has exacerbated challenges in East African countries that were already highly vulnerable to the spread of the virus and resource-constrained. As opposed to traditional banks, FACTS offers invoice finance and factoring to SMEs that does not require any collateral beyond invoices. FACTS leverages its technology platform to provide and monitor its invoice finance and supply finance products.

FACTS provides value chain financing, which consists of supply chain finance with suppliers on the procurement side and factoring with off-takers on the sale side. Through its financing, FACTS serves 5,597 suppliers, the vast majority of which are smallholder farmers in Kenya and Uganda, followed by traders in agriculture and pharmaceuticals. FACTS clients source mostly from suppliers that are based in rural areas of Kenya and Uganda. 87% of total suppliers are rural smallholder farmers, or firms operating in rural areas. By 2025, the SCF market in Kenya for the agribusiness and services sectors is estimated to grow to US$2B, with the pool of potential SME clients nearly doubling from 20,000 today to 37,500. In Uganda, the SCF market is expected to grow to US$800M by 2025. Though the SCF market size is smaller in Uganda than in Kenya, FACTS is likely to capture a larger share (7.5% vs. 3%) of the market in Uganda, which would position the company as a market leader in the country.

By providing financing to improve its clients’ cash flow, FACTS is stimulating economic and job growth in East Africa. By the end of 2019, approximately 50% of FACTS’ direct and indirect beneficiaries, which include permanent employees, casual laborers, customers, and suppliers/outgrowers, were women (20,000 women).

With the C19F investment, FACTS plans to invest in its cloud platform to optimize for loan origination, closing and monitoring from home, finance its US$1M pipeline of clients from the vulnerable agriculture and healthcare sectors, and accumulate working capital to weather downturns from future potential lockdowns due to the pandemic.

Key Facts

Current Activities

  • Directly and indirectly increase women’s labor force participation through its financing of growing sectors: As the supply chain financing markets in Kenya and Uganda grows to 1% and 2% of GDP, respectively, FACTS will be well-positioned to serve the growing need for financing in key sectors of agribusiness and healthcare. Of an estimated 80% of companies in FACTS’s current portfolio, at least 25-30% of senior management roles or 30% of Board seats are filled by women. In the agribusiness sector, 70% of the direct and indirect workforce is comprised of women, whereas on average, in other non-agribusiness sectors, 50% of FACTS clients’ workforces are comprised of women. Regarding the customers of portfolio companies, approximately 30-35% of those workforces consist of women. With regard to suppliers, approximately 70% of their workforces are comprised women, including outgrowers (contract farmers who supply seed and grain and benefit directly from early payment of invoices financed by FACTS). The proportion of women employed by suppliers is expected to increase to 80-85% within the next 12 months.
  • Increasing disposable income for its beneficiaries and their households: By the end of 2019, FACTS’ financing contributed to creating 9,901 jobs for its clients in Kenya and Uganda. 58% of these jobs were filled by women. 60% of temporary and 55% of permanent employees at client companies were women. Additionally, monthly household income increased from US$280 to US$340 for Kenyan employees and increased from US$500 to US$1,000 for Ugandan employees.

FACTS’ SEAF Gender Equality Scorecard©

Kenya and Uganda Gender Demographics

  • The employment sizes of Kenya and Uganda have increased at 3% and 4% CAGR, respectively, from 2016-2020, and women’s labor force participation rate totals 49% in both countries.
  • In 2018, the literacy rate in Kenya was 78% for adult women and 85% for adult men. The literacy rate in Uganda was 71% for adult women and 83% for adult men.
  • In 2017, 78% of adult women in Kenya and 53% of adult women in Uganda had account ownership at a financial institution or with a mobile-money-service provider.
  • WEF’s 2020 Global Gender Gap Report ranks Kenya 109th and Uganda 65th out of 153 countries. It ranks Kenya 20th and Uganda 10th in Sub-Saharan Africa in gender equality, with scores of 67.1% and 71.7%, respectively. The average global gender gap stands at 68.6%.

Women’s Economic Empowerment Highlights

Pay Equity

  • FACTS management will initiate several GES© improvement plans with a particular focus on Pay Equity
  • Country Managers in each country will conduct an internal assessment with the team to continue the GES© improvement plan

Benefits & Professional Development

  • FACTS provides maternity leave and insurance coverage out of pocket in addition to employees’ insurance coverage
  • Flexible family leave policies are provided as well as informal cost contribution in instances in which the employee is the prime breadwinner of the family
  • Formalized performance reviews and promotion processes are in place
  • FACTS also sponsor a 50% tuition fee for employees to attend continuing education on a conditional basis

Workforce Participation

  • Women represent 55% of the company’s workforce
  • Due to a restructuring in 2019, the Kenyan and Ugandan offices are taking over more daily management responsibilities from the Amsterdam office with the intention of creating stronger management teams within each country and delegating operations to empower local employees to assume more decision-making roles

Workplace Environment

  • FACTS has a zero-tolerance policy regarding sexual harassment and all forms of violence
  • A climate risk assessment is included in the client screening process
  • When conducting field visits outside of Nairobi or Kampala, investment officers can access a FACTS Uber-style taxi subscription and selected service providers for enhanced safety
  • FACTS has appointed a dedicated person to champion an organization-wide gender equality strategy and priority areas

Leadership & Governance

  • The current management team is comprised of four individuals, one is women (25%) and two Senior Managers (~50%) are women who lead Operations & IT and Credit & Legal
  • FACTS has no woman representation on its Board but has actionable items to diversify its Board in 2021

Women Powered Value Chains

  • FACTS’ clients in the agribusiness sector are on average 70% women workforce through direct and indirect employment
  • FACTS’ clients in sectors other than agribusiness have on average ~50% women employees.
  • Environment Social and Governance risk assessment is included in the client application and pre-screening process
  • FACTS also collected gender-disaggregated data from its clients