NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 22- Some 25,000 businesses have benefited from a COVID-19 recovery fund given by the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation.
All the business falls under the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and hard been hard hit by the pandemic that struck the country in March.
The cash is part of the Covid-19 Recovery and Resilience Program targeting MSMEs impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funds, inform of revolving Interest-free loans of between Sh20,000 and Sh30,000 will be availed to youth and Women-owned MSMES to provide them with financial assistance so that they can continue to operate during and even after the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the KNCCI, the available funds are up to the tune of Sh600 million.
“The world has gone through unprecedented disruptions over the last several months occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. While this crisis started initially as a health issue, it very quickly morphed into an economic disaster that has severely impacted many businesses (especially MSMEs) not just in Kenya but across the globe” Louise Kabucho – Project Coordinator, KNCCI and the Mastercard Foundation Recovery and Resilience Program said.
She was speaking during the initial disbursement of funds to the first beneficiaries of the program.
Eligible MSMEs include Youth aged between 18- 35 yrs and women-owned aged between 18 -70 years enterprises who are members of KNCCI.
This may include members from Jua Kali Sector, Hawkers, Retailers and Fashion Industry players and restaurants.
“As a responsible organization, we at the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry took a deliberate decision early on to stand with our members and to help them pivot back to a position of growth” Kabucho added.
As the effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic ripple through economies, women and young people are expected to bear the greatest burden as a result of reduced employment opportunities, layoffs and poorly performing MSMEs, most of which are led and owned by women and young people.
Kabucho said that MSMEs who wish to be part of KNCCI can take advantage of the Special category membership fees of Sh250 per year.
On his part, Richard Muteti, Chief Executive Officer, Kenya National Federation of Jua Kali Associations encouraged MSMEs across the country to utilize this opportunity to support their businesses.