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Chamber, Mastercard partner in Sh600m interest-free loans deal

By Apollo Abraham
Thursday, August 13th, 2020
Jua Kali artisans. Photo/File
In summary

PROGRAMME: Mastercard Foundation has partnered with Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) for Sh600 million interest-free loans targeting 100,000 micro and small enterprises.

The move which also entails provision of technical assistance, is part of the Mastercard Foundation Covid-19 Recovery and Resilience Programme and will target businesses owned by youths.

Expected to run for one year, the programme will be implemented by KNCCI through its chapters across the 47 counties, but will focus on agribiz, retail, healthcare and the manufacturing sectors.

Announcing the partnership yesterday, KNCCI president Richard Ngatia said the programme will ensure targeted businesses continue to operate and remain sustainable during and after the pandemic. 

“Our goal is to help micro and small enterprises survive the economic downturn and improve their resilience to enable them continue to create employment and contribute to the economic resurgence,” he added.

Digital platform

Ngatia said the chamber will leverage RetailPay, a trade digital platform, to support an e-commerce ecosystem to make the enterprises more agile and resilient.

It will particularly focus on hawkers, fashion, Jua Kali, retailers, and restaurants.

“Supporting the micro and small enterprises (MSEs) sector is a key priority for KNCCI as the Covid-19 pandemic has ravaged it and most businesses are yearning for finance that is affordable with a simplified process of accessing credit,” said Project Director Nemaisa Kiereini.

Kenya is currently staring a financial crisis following the outbreak of  the pandemic that has seen supply chains being disrupted while MSEs owned by youth and women have been hit hard because of their relatively low financial and technical capacity. 

Daniel Hailu, Regional Head Eastern and Southern Africa at the Mastercard Foundationsaid MSME’s are the backbone of the economy and they need support more than ever. 

“The Mastercard Foundation is proud to work with these partners to deliver tailored support to tens of thousands of MSMEs with the aim of helping them sustain their activities and continue to provide opportunities for dignified work,”he said

KNCCI shall pre-screen applications from eligible applicants together with the Grassroots Business Fund, the fund manager of the Medium, Small and Micro enterprise finance facility.    

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