16 October 2012

Uganda: Private Health Sector Lending

The United States Mission in Uganda and the Swedish Embassy on October 12 signed a joint loan portfolio guarantee agreement with Centenary bank to oversee the expansion of credit access to the private health sector.

USAID and the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) will provide Centenary bank with $3m (Shs 7bn) in loan guarantees to allow it provide low-risk loans to private healthcare providers that offer health services to the most vulnerable rural populations.

Among the beneficiaries targeted are cervical, breast and prostate cancer communities.

The agreement, extending over seven years, targets private borrowers that own and operate small and medium health service enterprises, including pharmaceutical wholesalers, retail dispensaries, private clinics and hospitals. It also caters to the provision of personal loans for transportation, housing and education of rural health workers.

"Because we believe in transforming Ugandans' lives, these loans are to be availed without the need for tangible security, which is usually a limitation," said Fabian Kasi, Centenary bank's managing director.

The US ambassador, Scott DeLisi, said: "Given that three quarters of all Ugandans' out-of-pocket spending on healthcare goes to the private sector, we believe this co-guarantee agreement means the bank will be able to serve as a catalyst for expanded private investment in the health sector."

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