A shopkeeper in Nairobi. A new program by Mastercard, Unilever and KCB aims to cushion micro-retailers from the shocks of the pandemic.
A shopkeeper in Nairobi. A new program by Mastercard, Unilever and KCB aims to cushion micro-retailers from the shocks of the pandemic.

Mastercard, Unilever and KCB Bank are set to provide micro-retailers with $150,000 (Ksh16.5 million) in direct financial assistance, free health products and training to help ease the economic impact of the pandemic.

The program is seen a way of strengthening partnership between the firms and micro-retailers.

Micro, small and medium enterprises have been the most affected by the pandemic despite being the backbone of the Kenyan economy. According to a survey by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), 75% of Kenya’s small and medium sized businesses face collapse without urgent intervention by stakeholders.

The Jaza Duka partners have pooled resources to provide retailers with a business recovery package worth over Ksh16.5 million that will be divided and delivered in the form of direct financial assistance, together with free health products and customized business education to help retailers navigate the current business environment and build the foundation for mid-to long-term resilience.

Jaza Duka, Swahili for filling up your store, is Mastercard’s track microcredit program. It is a global program inclusive of the credit ecosystem for small retailers that helps them overcome cash constraints and enables them to access short-term credit. As countries around the world forge towards economic recovery, enabling small businesses to recover quickly has been identified as a key driver for economic restoration and growth.

File image of Kenyans walking in Nairobi
Kenyans pictured walking in Nairobi

The Jaza Duka program combines data distribution from Unilever and analysis by Mastercard to provide micro-credit eligibility recommendations to KCB Bank which then uses the information to assess a retailer’s credit worthiness and extend formal credit for stock purchases. The loans are interest free for up to 17 days.

READ>>>>>KEPSA & Mastercard Launch Fund For MSMEs Hit by COVID-19

Natasha Jamal, the MEA Regional Director at the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth said that at Mastercard, they have seen the Jaza Duka initiative transform the lives and business of thousands of micro-merchants in kenya over the last two years.

She also noted that by continuing to enable access to much-needed capital throughout the pandemic and by overlaying that with additional financial and non-financial assistance for retailers, Mastercard believes that they can help merchants rebuild and position themselves for a more resilient future.

Unilever’s general manager, Luck Ochieng said that the purpose of Unilever is to make sustainable living commonplace where they use their scale to do good in the societies we live in and therefore create an equitable and socially inclusive world.

“With Jaza Duka, we are able to live true to that purpose. Together with our partners, we are giving back to our customers by enabling them to access what they need to grow their businesses, generate more value and be able to uplift their lives,” he stated.

For the program to be a success, Mastercard plans to expand the Track Micro Credit Program to other markets across Africa, Asia and the Middle East in the coming future.

READ>>>>>Mastercard Foundation Commits Sh1.6bn For Recovery of Kenyan MSMEs

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