Saturday, April 13, 2024

KCB Bank inks deal to provide cheap credit, market access to Jua Kali sector

KCB Bank Group has signed an agreement with the Kenya National Federation of Jua Kali Associations (KNFJKA) to accelerate the provision of affordable credit and capacity building to the members of the umbrella body.

The deal provides a pragmatic collaboration framework that will see KCB Bank and the KCB Foundation support interventions to strengthen participation, coordination, collaboration, cooperation, and synergy within the Jua Kali sector.

Specifically, Jua Kali Association members drawn from Carpentry, Woodcrafts, Metalworks, Soapstone crafts, Leather production, Textile products, Clay/Poetry crafts, Beekeeping Mechanical Engineering, Food processing and Electrical sub-sectors get access to a wide range of financial and non-financial services offered by the bank to spur their growth.

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Speaking during the MoU signing ceremony, KCB Bank Director of Digital Financial Services, Ms Angela Mwirigi, noted that it is high time the Jua Kali sector received a new lease of life through the injection of the much-needed market-driven competencies as a first step towards revolutionizing the sector.

“The engagement we are unveiling today is a response to the urgent need for players within the Jua Kali sub-sector to tap into more formal entrepreneurial opportunities currently available with a goal to progress towards decent work for all.”

“KCB Bank Kenya and KCB Foundation will work closely to ensure that your members are well positioned within the skills development eco-system both locally and regionally,” Ms Angela said.

Despite the Jua Kali sector’s prolific contribution to the economy, it is still plagued by systemic challenges that prevent the achievement of its full potential. These challenges include; Lack of adequate market for their wares, access to relevant social protection services like pension, insurance, lack of infrastructure, recognition of learnings and skills upgrading framework.

“There exists overwhelming evidence that the Jua Kali sector can become more competitive by increasing their involvement in formal support initiatives. Therefore, we can link them up to an inclusive financial system that recognizes their skills and appreciates their contribution to the economy,” Ms. Angela added.

“As a bank with the largest network coverage in the region, we are well-positioned to support this agenda.”

On his part, the CEO of the Kenya National Federation of Jua Kali Associations, Mr Richard Muteti, lauded KCB’s move as it will go a long way in unlocking the full potential of the informal sector.

“As sector players, we welcome KCB Bank and KCB Foundation on board this as through their respective interventions; we shall get the capacity to focus and upscale our entrepreneurial endeavours. As a result, we look forward to reaping the full benefits of a robust SME sector that guarantees sustained growth,”  Muteti said.

According to the Economic Survey 2022, 80% of the slightly more than 900,000 jobs created in 2021 were in the informal sector dominated by small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

This means that for informal enterprises to flourish, they need to be given effective business support across key areas of engagement.

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