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KEPSA boosts support for small enterprises

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 27 – The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) had kicked off the second phase of its Business Sector Program Support (BSPS) to boost micro, small and medium size enterprises (MSME) in the country.

The program is to run until 2015, operating on a Sh8 billion budget, which Kepsa chairman Patrick Obath said will accelerate the private sector efforts to push for policy reforms, build MSME capacity and promote green energy innovation.

“Kepsa through its constituent membership has got the capacity to deliver a lot of the programs that traditionally have been delivered through the government sector. By doing it through the private sector, you are able to move from concept to delivery very quickly,” he said.

The BSPS is split into three components including the business enabling environment component, Micro, Small and Medium Size Enterprises competitiveness component and innovation and piloting green energy component.

The second component of the program that seeks to cultivate competitiveness in the MSME space has given Sh830 million to 12,000 businesses over the last nine years through the Micro Enterprise Support Program Trust (MESPT), an implementing partner of BSPS.

The Trust’s Chief Executive Officer Jeff Njagi said the agricultural sector has had the highest uptake of the loans made available by the Trust, offering interest rates between eight and 12 percent.

“We give the agricultural loans six months grace period for farmers to payback. We use group lending to mitigate the risk, as a result our payback rate is over 97 percent,” he said.

MESPT that was formed by the government and European Union (EU), has already partnered with 3,000 farmers in Taita to deliver 5,000 litres of milk to Brookside Dairy daily.

In Malindi, the Trust along with the community, government and other development partners put up a Sh75 million mango pulping factory.

“The Malindi farmers supply the mangoes to the factory that produces pulp that has a shelf life of 18 months,” Njagi said.

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He added that such Public Private Partnerships will be critical in building the capacity of local businesses on the county level.

The Trust recently received Sh2 billion from the Royal Danish Embassy to increase its capital base as well as Sh400 million from the EU for its horticultural program.

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