Shara Inc., a Delaware-based fintech firm co-founded by Grant Brooke and Peter Njonjo, has acquired a controlling stake in Maisha Microfinance Bank Limited (Maisha MFB) in Kenya. The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has confirmed the acquisition of 55.8% of Maisha MFB by Cactus Cantina Investments Limited, a Kenyan entity fully owned by Shara, effective May 1, 2023.
The move comes after approval from the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury and Planning on April 4, 2023. The CBK statement revealed that the investment by Cactus Cantina will provide the necessary resources for Maisha MFB to support its business growth and transform its business model in line with CBK’s vision for the microfinance banking sector.
Maisha MFB was granted a license on May 21, 2016, to carry out nationwide microfinance banking business. It primarily serves insurance policyholders, insurance agents, micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, and salaried individuals. As of December 31, 2022, it was classified as a medium-sized microfinance bank, with a market share of 1.4% in the sector.
Shara was founded to offer affordable financing to small and medium enterprises and their value chains. It currently operates in Nigeria and Kenya, with Brooke and Njonjo also serving as co-founders of Twiga Foods, a B2B food and grocery distribution company.
The acquisition of Maisha MFB is a significant move by Shara as it expands its footprint in the microfinance banking sector in Kenya. With the acquisition, Shara will have a controlling stake in a well-established financial institution, which will provide it with a platform to offer additional services to its target market of SMEs and their value chains.