NAIROBI Kenya, Jan 23 – Fast moving consumer goods firm Unilever East Africa, KCB Bank Kenya, and Mastercard have rolled-out a programme aimed at helping small and medium-sized businesses across Kenya to overcome the cash constraints that limit their ability to transact with Unilever products.
The programme named ‘Jaza Duka’, which is Swahili for ‘fill the kiosks,’ will see retailers purchase goods on credit, interest-free for up to 17 days.
Almost 18,000 stores in Kenya have already signed up for Jaza Duka, with a planned roll out to 30,000 stores by the end of 2019.
The initiative combines distribution data from Unilever and analysis by KCB, on how much inventory a store has bought from Unilever over time.
The results from the analysis are used to provide a micro-credit eligibility recommendation by KCB Bank.
Once the micro-credit line from KCB is approved, the store owner is able to increase their purchases of product from what they can buy with cash on hand to what they can actually sell.
The credit line from KCB is provided through a secure Mastercard digital payment solution.
Unilever Sales Director for East Africa Luck Ochieng says the programme will empower more retailers grow their businesses.
“Jaza Duka is in line with Unilever’s sustainable business agenda, is a true testament of what business partnerships can do to help lift Kenyans out of poverty and eventually grow the economy,” he added.
The involvement of KCB, East Africa’s biggest lender by assets and payments company Mastercard are expected to provide added thrust and better analysis of customer data and provide input for better underwriting.
“Jaza Duka stands out because of our equal focus on retailer education. Understanding how to use credit responsibly is just the start,” said Adam Jones Mastercard Head of East Africa Region
Unilever, which counts Sunlight, Royco, Vaseline and OMO amongst some of its most popular household products, has successfully conducted pilot tests at several locations spread across the country.
“There’s an opportunity to set these businesses up for long-term growth by bringing together the tools and data from different industries to change the model of small business financing. We see this partnership as a big plus in boosting our role as catalysts of trade and doing business in East Africa,” said KCB Bank Kenya Head of Channels Dennis Njau.