, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 15 – The Sh6 billion fund to support youth and women enterprises will soon be operational after the Ministry of Devolution and Planning paved way for its launch by establishing of a framework for the effective disbursement of the support, dubbed the UWEZO Fund.
The funds were originally set aside by the government for use in the event of an election run-off, but President Uhuru Kenyatta pledged that the money will be rechanneled to support youth and women enterprises.
Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru says through the fund, eligible youth and women across the country will gain access to interest-free loans as startup capital for small and micro business of varying amounts not exceeding Sh500,000.
Only a 3percent one-off administration fee will be payable for each loan.
Speaking on Capital in the Morning on Monday, Waiguru explained that the UWEZO Fund additionally aims at supporting youth and women to leverage on the 30percent government procurement preference for youth, women and persons with disabilities.
The resources under the UWEZO Fund will be disbursed directly to beneficiaries through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) framework, under the administration of committees that have been established at each constituency.
Besides the relevant Member of Parliament, the committee will each comprise one youth and women representative. In addition to assessing applicants’ business plans and granting loan approvals, the committee’s role will include monitoring use of the disbursed resources to ensure accountability.
She advised youths to develop sound business plans to enable them access the fund and urged them to strive for social accountability when granted the loans.
The ministry and the relevant government institutions will be spearheading capacity building efforts for prospective beneficiaries of the fund once it is launched.