The Industrial & Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC) was established in 1954 under its own Act of Parliament Cap 445 of the Laws of Kenya. At that time, it was called IDC (Industrial Development Corporation) but the name was later changed to ICDC. With the events in that period of time indicating that the time of colonial rule was coming to an end, it was found necessary to create the Corporation for purposes of opening up the economy and placing it in indigenous hands post independence.
Shortly after independence, ICDC was mandated to facilitate promotion of the industrial and economic development of Kenya by engaging principally in two areas of business operations:
- Firstly, to assist indigenous entrepreneurs’ access the financial resources needed for their businesses or industries through loan finance. The Corporation established several small loan programs to provide working capital for trade, acquisition of commercial premises and the purchase of machinery and inputs for these mostly small-scale industries. Majority of the beneficiaries in this scheme were private-sector entrepreneurs and ICDC freely offered them business advice and consultancy services as and when required.
- Secondly, to promote economic development, through equity participation and provision of corporate loans to both medium and large-scale projects considered to be of long-term developmental value to the country. In partnership with local and international investors, ICDC co-invested in various industrial ventures in the country that are leading names today. Some of the projects invested in by the Corporation included companies like General Motors East Africa Limited, Centum Investments Company Limited, Uchumi Supermarkets Limited, AON Insurance Brokers Limited, Eveready Batteries (E A) Limited, Kenya Wine Agencies Limited, Development Bank of Kenya Limited, IDB Capital Ltd, Kenya National Trading Corporation, Kenatco Taxis Limited, Agrochemical & Food Company Limited and Focus Limited - A Container Freight Station among others.
- Other ventures in which the Corporation played the lead investor role but has since divested from include brands such as East African Industries (Now Unilever (EA) Ltd), Firestone (E A) Ltd (Now Yana Tyres Ltd), Nairobi Airport Services (NAS) (now Servair-NAS Ltd), Dawa Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Pan African Paper Mills (EA) Ltd (Now Pan Paper Mills Ltd), and Rivatex Textiles Ltd to name a few.
Today, 63 years down the line, the Corporation boasts of having promoted various enterprises in diverse sectors of the economy which have grown to become some of Kenya’s iconic companies creating jobs and wealth for Kenyans. ICDC still continues to promote projects in sectors that have the potential for job and wealth creation therefore strengthening the country’s competitiveness and assisting in the acceleration of its economic growth.
In May 2011 ICDC rebranded and unveiled a new corporate identity in form of a modern key. The rebrand was part of a larger strategy to re-position the Corporation for business in the 21st century as ‘the Catalyst for wealth creation’ offering flexible and creative financial solutions to its target market.
The Corporation’s tagline also changed from ‘Fungua Uchumi’ which, loosely translated means ‘open the economy’ to ‘Turning Ideas into Wealth’ signifying that the independence mandate of opening up the economy and indigenizing it had been satisfied and now ICDC’s mandate was to ensure growth and sustainability of the economy towards the ‘Creation of sustainable wealth’ which is the Corporation’s promise to existing and potential clients.
ICDC as a Development Finance Institution also continues to innovatively break new ground in different sectors of the economy towards fulfillment of its developmental role in alignment with the country’s Vision 2030 objectives.
A flashback of the events and milestones that ICDC has made since inception in 1954.
1954: Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) established to facilitate industrial and economic development of Kenya in the colonial era, mainly through equity funding.
1960: Industrial Loans Programme started as the main vehicle of investment.
1962: With the advent of Uhuru, the Government undertakes the task of re-organization of the Corporation by appointing African directors.
1965: The first African Chairman and Executive Director are appointed by the Government. The Government also changes the name of the Corporation to Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC) in order to better describe its functions in an independent Kenya.
1971: The Corporation appoints provincial officers in various strategic locations in the country to ensure that every Kenyan has access to its financial facilities. In the same year, ICDC embarks on its largest project; to build its own premises initially known as Industrial House. In July same year, during a foundation stone laying ceremony, the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta renames the house to
1972-1973: The Corporation moves from Marshals House into Uchumi House and expands its operations via its branch network.
1992-1994: The Corporation undergoes major restructuring to enhance its effectiveness and profitability in an open market economy.
2009: The Corporation closes its branch network offices and redeploys field officers back to ICDC Head office, Uchumi House to enhance business decision making process and respond more quickly to dynamic market place.
2011: The Corporation rebranded by unveiling a new corporate identity in form of a modern key. The re-brand strategy was to reposition ICDC for business in the 21st century by offering innovative and efficient financial solutions to its target market.
PRESENT DAY: 63 years later, ICDC continues to provide quality and affordable financial facilities to meet the increasing expectations of its customers and to create wealth for Kenyans as envisaged in Vision 2030.