Vivienne Yeda is an experienced professional banker and international business lawyer who currently serves as the Director General of the East African Development Bank (EADB).
Moody’s and Global Credit Rating, two leading international credit rating agencies, in 2022 affirmed the EADB’s investment grade rating, assigning it a “stable outlook”. This signifies continued stability and bright prospects for the Bank. It is noteworthy that in Africa, there are only two countries (Botswana at A3 and Mauritius at Baa3) that are rated investment grade by Moody’s. Five multilateral development banks also rated investment grade by Moody’s (ADB rated AAA, AFC rated A3, TDB rated Baa3. BOAD and Afreximbank are both rated at Baa1).
During her tenure as CEO at the EADB, Ms. Yeda has been passionate about social and economic development and is involved in the coordination and allocation of significant resources to various development initiatives in the East African member states.
EADB has evolved to become a trailblazer in private equity investment and financing of SMEs which had previously struggled to raise capital from commercial banks as well as other projects in the real economy. The Bank has also been a sturdy partner in member states’ development projects that require long-term capital and has built an expansive loan portfolio in a diverse range of sectors in East Africa, including agriculture, education, tourism, real estate, and energy, just to name a few.
In Kenya, one notable project benefiting from EADB’s funding is the SME finance project which supports SMEs through local partners. In this project EADB has partnered with banks to support more than 1000 SMEs that provide than 6000 jobs.
Other sectors in Kenya which EADB is supporting include education; funding universities to develop robust internal information technology (IT) infrastructure, and construct faculty buildings and hostels. The Bank supports secondary schools in Kenya to construct student hostel blocks and attendant facilities in order to increase student enrolment by adding extra streams. In the health sector, the Bank funds hospitals that offer affordable health care in densely populated communities. Under housing, the bank partners with housing finance institutions to implement affordable housing schemes. The Bank recently funded the construction of more than 200 affordable housing apartments in Nairobi.
In Uganda, where EADB is headquartered, the Bank is active e in the SME sector under its Rural Finance Enhancement Program, targeting SMEs in the agricultural sector in rural areas. Through partnerships with other institutions the bank has funded over 5,000 SMEs thereby creating a number of employment opportunities in rural areas.
Other sectors of the Uganda economy in which EADB is active include Agriculture and Agro-processing, manufacturing, education, commercial real estate and Transport. In the agriculture and agro-processing sector, there are several large-scale projects in the sugar sub-sector. These companies support more than 20,000 small-holder out growers’ schemes. The Bank supports green field projects and recently funded the establishment of the only medical gloves manufacturing plant in the region.
The EADB is supporting education in Uganda by funding a number of education and tertiary institutions to provide education to increase number of learners. EADB is funding business centres and the transport sector by financing acquisition of aircraft for private operators which has transformed private air travel in Uganda.
Tanzania has a diverse portfolio with funding to the energy sector, government, and large-scale social housing in Dar es Salaam and Dodoma. Several institutions in Tanzania are beneficiaries of EADB’s investment in private equity to support businesses and the financial sector.
In Rwanda, EADB supports Medium Enterprises in a variety of sectors through its partnership with various institutions. Through these partnerships, enterprises in various sectors namely energy, education, tourism, transport, and manufacturing are funded; thus, creating employment opportunities.
Overall, the Bank continues to finance many different projects in the East African region, underscoring the commendable pace at which EADB is supporting development.
EADB METAF Programme
The EADB Medical Training and Fellowship Programme (METAF) launched in August 2016, is a response to the acute shortage of neurologists and oncologists in East Africa. The Programme is designed to equip medical practitioners and doctors with skills to undertake research especially in communities and areas where access to qualified medical specialists in these fields is limited. Financed by EADB, the METAF programme is managed in partnership with the British Council (BC) and the Royal Council of Physicians (RCP), as the technical partner.
Premised on the British Council’s expertise in managing training programmes and the RCP’s expertise in training and developing improved medical care across the globe, the programme is designed to deliver a high impact sustainable training model employing twin approaches of hosting short-term clinical trainings within East Africa and long-term fellowships tenable in the United Kingdom. Between 2016 -2020, the METAF programme provided short clinical training courses in neurology and oncology to more than 500 doctors from East Africa. At the end of 2019, the British Council estimated that over 3,000 clinical staff in East Africa benefitted from the knowledge gained on the clinical courses through mentoring by course participants.
The Extractive Industries annual seminar is organized by EADB and facilitated by global law firm, DLA Piper. It is designed for public sector lawyers, judges, and law professors and academics involved in negotiating complex transactions and drafting agreements for or on behalf of Governments in extractive sectors and other large-scale projects to enhance legal skills in this branch of the law. Launched in Kigali Rwanda in 2014, these are short intensive training workshops that bring together senior public-sector lawyers, legal academics, and Judges. The programme has hosted short training courses successfully in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. By the end of 2021, more than 300 public sector lawyers and legal academics, judges, State Counsel from Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi had benefitted from the training programmes.
The EADB Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) University Scholarship Programme is a multiple fast-track 12-month training course offered to experienced teachers and lecturers from member states. The programme offers scholars the opportunity to pursue a graduate degree in the STEM fields at Rutgers University. This Programme is delivered in partnership with the Africa-America Institute (AAI), and is coordinated and implemented by Rutgers University, New Jersey. At the end of 2019, 16 scholars, all teachers from government schools in East Africa benefited from the pilot phase of the programme.
In her over 20-years career, Ms. Yeda has negotiated and structured facilities for sovereign borrowers including governments, Central Banks, and Regional Economic. Communities, and undertaken several projects with private sector borrowers. Prior to her role as Director General at EADB, Ms. Yeda was the African Development Bank Resident Representative and Country Manager for Zambia.
Ms. Yeda has been recognized internationally for her outstanding contributions in banking and business leadership. In 2014, she was awarded the “African Banker of the Year Award” by the African Banker magazine and Business in Africa Events (BIAE). In the same year, she was named “Business Leader of the Year” by the Africa-America Institute at an awards ceremony held in New York in recognition of her contribution to “development banking, finance and business in Africa for over 20 years.” She was also at this time conferred the “Africa Female Economic Champion Award-Banking” and inducted into the Global Women Leaders Hall of Fame 2014 at the Africa Middle East Asia Women Summit 2014. In 2021 she was nominated for the African Banker of the Year Award as one of the eight finalists. As Chairman of KPLC, she was listed as one of the 2021 and 2022 Top 25 Most Influential Chairs of Board Impacting Business curated by the Business Monthly East Africa magazine and among the Top 25 Most Influential CEOs Impacting Business 2021 and 2022 from her role as the Director General of EADB.
Ms Yeda has great passionate about education, service and leadership,having pursued multiple post-graduate degrees from some of the world’s most prestigious universities. After obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in Law from the University of Nairobi, she proceeded for a Master’s in International Finance and Law at University College London, where she pursued multiple disciplines in law and finance at the institution’s affiliated colleges, including the London School of Economics and the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies. She earned her MBA from Edith Cowan University, Australia.
Her skills, knowledge and experience in law and finance have enabled her to excel in leadership. She served on the Board of the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) between 2011 and 2015. In 2020, she was appointed the Chairman of Kenya Power and Lighting Company PLC, where together with the new management, she is leading the electricity distributor through a transformative process to improve service delivery.