Kenyan operator Safaricom secured a deal to receive up to KES20 billion ($137.2 million) from a consortium of banks in the country to support its sustainability agenda, in what it claimed is the largest loan of its kind undertaken in East Africa.

Safaricom stated it would initially receive KES15 billion, which can rise to KES20 billion, from Standard Chartered; Standard Bank; ABSA and KCB. The quartet will enable the company to access funding based on its progress of milestones set across key Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) areas.

Among the targets are tasking the operator with deepening its focus on strategic sustainable investments to reach net zero targets, tracking gender diversity and monitoring social equality impact.

Safaricom aims to become a fully-fledged technology company by 2025 and has made a sustainable business approach part of the ongoing transition.

CEO Peter Ndegwa said the funding will help unlock its ability to make more diversified investments into systems and services “that allow us to comprehensively manage our ESG footprint”.

The deal also paves the way for further sustainable financing in the African region, as companies seek to become more accountable for their ESG reporting and financing, added Safaricom.

Kenya’s government has placed the sustainable financing market as a key priority for its Vision 2030 plans.