Trade lobby KNCCI sets up Covid rescue plan for SMEs

jua kali
Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • KNCCI will also partner with RetailPay, a trade digital platform, to help beneficiaries transition to an e-commerce ecosystem.
  • Supply chains have been disrupted and small enterprises owned by youth and women badly affected.

The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) and the Mastercard Foundation have jointly established a Covid-19 recovery programme for the benefit of at least 100,000 micro and small enterprises run by the youth and young women.

Under the scheme, firms will get short-term interest-free loans to help them carry on with operations and maintain their staff under the prevailing tough market disruptions.

The advances will be derived from a Sh600 million fund established by the Mastercard Foundation.

Beneficiaries of the programme will be KNCCI members and the chamber’s association affiliates.

“Supporting the micro and small enterprises sector is a key priority for KNCCI. The Covid-19 pandemic has ravaged this sector and most businesses are yearning for finance that is affordable and a simplified process of accessing credit. This programme shall deliver much-needed relief for the sector,” said project director Nemaisa Kiereini during the launch of the plan.

The one-year plan will be implemented by the KNCCI through its chapters across the 47 counties, and will have a special focus on businesses in agriculture, retail, healthcare and manufacturing sectors.

E-commerce ecosystem

Under the programme, KNCCI will also partner with RetailPay, a trade digital platform, to help beneficiaries such as hawkers, fashion industry players, jua kali workers and restaurant owners, who have been hardest hit by the pandemic, transition to an e-commerce ecosystem that will see them get back on the path to recovery.

With stringent rules such as a daily dusk-to-dawn curfew and social distancing imposed so as to reduce the spread of Covid-19, supply chains have been disrupted and small enterprises owned by youth and women badly affected because of their relatively low financial and technical muscle.

They have seen massive shrinking of revenues and shedding of jobs. As they contribute a majority of the populace, this has had a significant impact on the Kenyan economy.

Backbone of economy

“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,” said Mr Daniel Hailu, Regional Head, Eastern and Southern Africa at the Mastercard Foundation.

KNCCI will pre-screen applications together with the Grassroots Business Fund (GBF), who will be managing the MSME finance facility on behalf of the Mastercard Foundation.

KNCCI President Richard Ngatia, said the programme will not only look to help micro and small enterprises survive the current economic downturn, but will also look to improve their resilience and make sure that they continue to thrive even beyond the pandemic.

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