What you need to know:
- President William Ruto last Thursday launched the WEF Digital, which will provide access to WEF loans through the Hustler Fund platform.
- The new platform will reach more women and accelerate their economic empowerment as the loans will be accessed instantly unlike in the past when the processing took 45 days.
The Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) has gone digital in a move that government officials say will help advance financial inclusion for women.
President William Ruto last Thursday launched the WEF Digital, which will provide access to WEF loans through the Hustler Fund platform. He said under the remodelled WEF Kenya, women will borrow at an interest rate of six per cent per year.
He said the new platform will reach more women and accelerate their economic empowerment as the loans will be accessed instantly unlike in the past when the processing took 45 days.
“WEF Digital is efficient as it is instant and eliminates the 45-day processing time. We have also eliminated financial intermediaries, which will ensure dignity in borrowing and cut down on the cost of accessing credit,” said the President at KICC, Nairobi, during the relaunch.
The President noted that with more loan products that have shorter repayment periods, the Fund will empower more women and strengthen their financial muscles. He announced that the development of a Sharia-compliant product is underway to attend to Muslim consumers.
Ruto said WEF will be accessible on the same platform as Hustler Fund.The president also announced that the government will triple the funds allocated to the WEF from Sh 4 billion to Sh 13.5 billion.
"I’m announcing today that we are going to triple the resources available under that fund from Sh4 billion to Sh13.5 billion, " he said.
Ruto noted that the allocation of Sh4.5 billion has been stagnant for the past 15 years. He explained that increasing the amount will also increase the capacity of women to access the funds.
Public Service Gender and Affirmative Action CS Aisha Jumwa said the launch of WEF Digital will enhance economic inclusion and empowerment of women. She said the accessing of WEF loans through mobile phones is a new government strategy to advance financial inclusion.
"This incredible milestone has enabled us to move from a manual to a digital system. We are confident that we will have more women accessing loans and accelerate the economic empowerment agenda,” said Ms Jumwa.
Also read: Financial inclusion key to progress
The CS said the government is committed and working round the clock to ensure the Kenyan woman is at the centre of Kenya Kwanza's Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda.
She added they recognise that women are a critical national asset with tremendous potential to shape, influence and contribute to all spheres of national development.
WEF is a semi-autonomous government agency in the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs. It was established in August 2007 to provide accessible and affordable credit to support women's starting or expanding businesses for wealth and employment creation.
The Fund was set up to benefit women aged 18 and above. Any woman can apply, as part of a group or as an individual. To access the WEF, subscribers will use *254#.