A time to celebrate MESPT for transforming livelihoods in rural Kenya

MESPT Board members, the CEO (second right), EU and Danida representatives, and Mr Henry Rithaa (CEO of Micro and Small Enterprises Authority) (third right), during the launch of MESPT's Strategic Plan 2021-2025.

Photo credit: MESPT

From The National Treasury

The Government of Kenya is proud to have founded the Micro Enterprises Support Programme Trust (MESPT) 20 years ago, jointly with the European Union. The European Union later relinquished its Founder status to the Royal Danish Embassy in Kenya.

As the Founders, we have nurtured the Trust through provision of a legal framework and an oversight role at the Board of Trustee level. MESPT seeks to transform livelihoods of rural farmers and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises through provision of integrated and sustainable business solutions. It is a vehicle with which donors choose to implement programmes and projects that support the development agenda of the Government, such as enhanced access to finance, increased agricultural productivity and markets, improved incomes and creation of job opportunities for youths and women.

As the Government of Kenya, we are keen to see green growth and development of the agricultural sector and financial inclusion in sectors that are supported by MESPT. We applaud the Trust for its continued commitment of building a better society. This is evident in the milestones achieved so far.

As we celebrate the Trust’s 20th anniversary, we are proud of its success and contributions to the Kenyan economy.

From the Royal Danish Embassy, Nairobi

As a founder and donor to Micro Enterprises Support Programme Trust (MESPT), Denmark is very happy and proud to congratulate MESPT on its 20th anniversary this year. Since 2002, we have partnered with MESPT to support and create green opportunities for especially youth and women in the agricultural sector, and to develop and nurture green value chains in Kenya. The achievements speak for themselves – more than 300,000 MSMEs have received support, and, consequently, 70,000 jobs created. Kudos to MESPT!

MESPT’s vision and mandate is closely aligned with Denmark’s ambitions in both the newly launched Development Cooperation Strategy and the bilateral partnership between Denmark and Kenya that runs from 2021-2025. Climate adaptation approaches, green transition and the creation of green and decent jobs plays a central role in both strategies, and MESPT is an important partner for Denmark in Kenya to achieve these objectives.

Ten years ago, a team from the Royal Danish Embassy visited Qwetu SACCO in Taita Taveta County to see the impact of MESPT’s engagement there. MESPT had provided financial support to the SACCO and through this to a group of rural smallholder farmers. It was clear that this investment had made a huge difference in terms of productivity levels and hence the income, wellbeing and sustainability of the farmer’s lives and the local community. The SACCO has since grown from 2,430 active loan borrowers to 48,058 borrowers in 2020, courtesy of MESPT support.

Kenya’s population grows by 2.2 percent every year, and is expected to pass 90 million by 2050. The agricultural sector needs to expand significantly to match this population growth, and it will be critical to increase productivity, minimise postharvest loss and engage more people – especially youths – in the sector.

MESPT already plays an important role in this process, and its mandate will only get more important in the coming years. The agricultural sector also holds great opportunities for the creation of green and decent jobs, and MESPT’s achievement on this shows a good way forward on this agenda.

It is really encouraging to witness MESPT’s growth for the last 20 years, from the initial start-up to becoming one of the leading institutions in providing agribusiness related support to smallholder farmers, thanks to the partnership with Danida.

As we continue our good collaboration, we encourage MESPT to lower interest rates on loans for farmers to below 10 percent in order to allow more farmers to benefit from their support. We look forward to many more years of fruitful collaboration with MESPT in support of Kenya’s agricultural sector. 

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