Kaah International Microfinance Services (KIMS) is the Somali market leader in the provision of Sharia compliant Microfinance services. KIMS has been in operation since 2013 and to date has provided over $14 million in financing to more than 13,700 clients. At present KIMS has an active portfolio of more than 4,150 clients worth $3.8 million.
KIMS’ mission is to contribute to economic and social development for Somalis by providing high-quality diversified Microfinance services, offering savings, financing of small and micro-enterprises and embracing Islamic Sharia principles, while continuing to occupy a pioneering position in the financial sector. KIMS combines competitive returns to investors with cost efficient, professional supplementary services that maximize the social impact of access to finance.
KIMS’ model aims to create a commercially viable, social impact driven operation that finances low income and historically excluded groups while sustainably growing to maximize its reach. Individuals from rural areas represent 10% of KIMS cumulative portfolio, of which 50% are women and 80% are from youth age groups (18-35 years old), creating over 6,500 jobs.
KIMS recognizes that supplementary non-financial support services combined with strong community outreach are essential elements that encourage repayment among its target groups of female, displaced, rural and youth Somalis.The organisation has provided financial literacy training to 5,000 borrowers and business skills training to over 1,000 youth clients, while all refugee returnee clients and IDPs have been provided with additional skills training relevant to the local labor market. Meanwhile, products and support are tailored to the needs of borrowers, resulting in a diverse array of loan types and a default rate that is below 5%. This is reached through mutual understanding with community stakeholders and leaders, which have been vital to mitigating risk of default, conflict exposure and build trust, particularly in rural areas.
KIMS is entering a growth phase, allowing the firm to embark an ambitious four-year expansion plan. By 2022, KIMS aims to have provided access to finance to 50,000 Somalis and manage an active portfolio of USD$13 million creating 25,000 jobs while expanding its rural outreach, product range, geographic coverage and branch infrastructure.
KIMS will achieve these goals through outreach and diversification. KIMS prioritization of outreach towards rural customers will allow the firm to reach previously untapped communities at the bottom of the pyramid, while KIMS is actively pursuing market entry into neighboring Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, with a goal of becoming the leading regional Islamic microfinance provider in East Africa.
KIMS has attained month on month profitability and is now looking to raise USD $5 million in 2019 through a mix of debt, equity and grants to fund institutional growth through expansion of branch infrastructure, rural outreach, human resources, IT systems and training.
Furthermore, KIMS aims at financing loan portfolio growth through general lending activities and allocation of funding to specific higher impact client segments while planning projects that test higher risk, greater social impact client segments and products, such as solar home systems, IDP and refugee returnee financing, youth start-up lending and other entrepreneurship projects for vulnerable groups. Displaced clients stand at around 15% of KIMS active portfolio and under its growth plans it is committed to double this to 30%.
Potential refugee impact
KIMS efforts to provide access to finance and other transformational services to low income but economically active Somalis allows for refugees and other displaced populations (IDPs) to be a central aspect of the firm’s operational priorities, given that 2.6 million individuals are internally displaced as a result of ongoing security threats in Somalia combined with the displacement impact of natural disasters such as drought and floods. Refugees remain an important subcategory of KIMS’ four target population cohorts; the displaced, women, the youth and those in rural areas. KIMS maintains strong ties with community stakeholders and leaders to ensure that the displaced and refugee returnees have access to our services, despite being located in conflict affected zones.
A key case study that demonstrates KIMS impact among refugees is KIMS refugee returnee and IDP Microfinance project in the Kismayo region and other areas of Lower Jubaland. This project is Somalia’s first example of a structured refugee economic reintegration program serving, implemented as a partnership between the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), American Refugee Committee (ARC) and German GIZ and KIMS involving the development of a dedicated reintegration scheme for returnees, IDPs and host communities. This programme focused on the provision of vocational and business skills training, grants for capital expenditure combined with working capital loans to micro and small businesses across two components:
Individual Microenterprise Financing
This component focused on the provision of start-up financing to individual returnees seeking to start microenterprises. Financing consisted of a combination of 0% (Qard Hassan) microcredit loans and the provision of supporting grants (used to cover the costs of skills training and / or startup tools and equipment), both which were disbursed by KIMS.
Under this programme more than 550 beneficiaries were supported, 90% who were returnees. A total of $390,000 in 0% loan financing was provided by KIMS to returnees and an additional $19,000 to IDPs. 455 of the beneficiaries were based in Kismayo and remaining 100 were based in Afmadow. Loan sizes ranged from $500 – $800 and where combined with financial literacy and business skills training. Priority was placed on the provision of financing to youth and women returnees and projects financed including retail shops, food production and restaurants.
KIMS SME Strategy – Returnee Inclusive SME Financing
The second pillar of this project was to work with existing SMEs (Business Groups or Cooperatives) in Kismayo to provide them with business expansion loans which would enable them to take on returnees as new employees. Once again financing consisted of a combination of 0% (Qard Hassan) microcredit loans and grants disbursed by KIMS.
23 SMEs were financed consisting mainly of fishing (14) and farming cooperatives as well as a number of other miscellaneous businesses. Investee businesses were supported with financing and training as well as being provided with linkages to the ARC operated TVET Skills Training centre in Kismayo. This centre, run by returnees themselves, provides returnee youth with short-course training in skills demanded in the local labour market, and then links them to job opportunities with SMEs. A total of $225,000 in loan financing was provided to these SMEs which enable them to hire a total of more than 1,000 returnee refugees as well as hires within the existing host community. Taking into consideration average family sizes in Somalia, it is estimated that this project has had a broader positive impact on more than 6,000 people.
Kaah International Microfinance Services (KIMS) was launched in 2014 as Somalia’s first and only privately-owned microfinance institution. KIMS operates on a commercial basis providing enterprise financing and linked savings services to low income but economically active Somalis and Somali small businesses. Headquartered in Hargeisa (Somaliland), KIMS runs its operations through its 13 branches in 10 different locations throughout Somaliland, Puntland and Southern and Central Somalia. KIMS has provided over $14 million in financing to more than 13,700 clients which resulted in the creation of an estimated 7000+ new jobs.At present KIMS has an active portfolio of more than 4,150 clients worth $3.8 million.