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Driving Africa's Transformation: Equity Group's Legacy of Resilience and Purposeful Growth

Brand Finance
06 March 2024

Equity Group has strongly adapted to Africa's changing landscape, positioning itself as a driver of transformation on the continent. By prioritising purpose and values, Equity has built sustainability and resilience into its brand, resonating with stakeholders. This is reflected by Equity's prestigious AAA+ brand strength rating, the highest rating awarded by Brand Finance. Its brand approach has fuelled growth even in challenging times. Despite difficulties in 2023, Equity's resilience and customer trust remain robust, reinforcing its vision for a better Africa through purpose-driven initiatives.

Dr James Mwangi,
CBS Group Managing Director & CEO,
Equity Group Holdings Plc

How has Equity adapted to emerging trends and how has this influenced Equity’s brand positioning in the market?

Africa has reached a watershed moment with immense opportunity for rapid development. Equity Group’s ‘African Recovery and Resilience Plan’ (ARRP) is an invitation to individuals and institutions to converge around a common agenda and support transformational change on the continent. It is clear from our learnings that businesses anchored on purpose and values will benefit from inbuilt long-term sustainability, enabling them to thrive even in the most challenging context. The invitation is therefore a rallying call to all to support the much-anticipated rise of our people and the continent at large.

Equity’s legacy of resilience, agility and self-disruption has seen the institution thrive in different operating environments. By providing relevant and innovative products and services, proactively engaging our stakeholders, and utilising new ways of working, we have continued to bolster the value we create for our customers and stakeholders.

Our purpose of transforming lives, giving dignity, and expanding opportunities for wealth creation has continuously proven to be relevant and has been a clear rallying point for why we exist. It is a reminder of the aspirations we have committed ourselves to achieving. Anchoring our business on our purpose, we continue to support the day-to-day lives of our customers.

This gives credence to our dual-engine approach that offers both commercial and social value enabling us to create impact across vast segments of society. Our performance in the year under review displays our customers’ confidence in the brand, demonstrated by the growth in customer numbers and deposits in a year that saw a decline in disposable incomes.

We have noted improvements in performance across our subsidiaries with Equity BCDC, Equity Bank Rwanda and Equity Bank Tanzania making strong strides. We remain committed to South Sudan as seen in our offering of new lending products while bolstering our Uganda entity which has gained strong traction in market share and significance.

Pursuing our Aspirations for Africa as an African financial services provider, we view the continent as ready for transformational change.

Despite its challenges, we have opted to think big and boldly, envisaging a continent that is delivering on primary sector opportunities and driving shared value creation through additive manufacturing, mining processing, and refining and supporting the growth of micro, small and medium businesses and the promotion of trade and investments. These factors, in addition to our social and environmental interventions and our use of innovative technologies, form the pillars of our ambitious ARRP.

How does your diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategy contribute to Equity’s brand?

Our social engine, the Equity Group Foundation, continues to expand its initiatives across the region. The Equity Leaders Program has been launched including the Wings to Fly and Elimu Scholarship to 47,009. Equity Afia, Equity Group Foundation’s flagship program in Health expanded its network from 51 clinics in 2021 to 77 in 2022, with an additional growth of 120 Medical Centres planned for Kenya by the close of 2023 and a further 30 Medical Centres slated for launch in the DRC as part of EGF’s regional expansion strategy.

Looking back, how would you summarise 2023 for the Equity brand?

Although 2023 was a challenging year, it was also an opportunity to showcase the power of having and operating with purpose. At Equity we have continued to grow despite the socio-economic difficulties in the countries we operate in, demonstrating the faith and confidence our customers have in us. We value and appreciate this trust. I would like to thank our partners, stakeholders and customers who continue to believe in us and our plan to build a better Africa. At Equity, we firmly believe that as an organisation founded and managed by Africans, we cannot escape our identity and we owe it to the next generation to drive sustainable transformation in Africa.

About the Author

Brand Finance is the world’s leading independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy. Headquartered in the City of London, we are present in over 20 countries.

For almost 30 years we have helped companies and organisations of all types to connect their brands to the bottom line.