Mastercard, Unilever and KCB Bank Strengthen Partnership to Support Micro-retailers in Kenya

Micro-retailers to receive $150,000 worth of financial support, free health products and training, to ease the economic impact of the pandemic.

Mastercard, Unilever and KCB Bank have built on their partnership to support micro-merchants in Kenya by expanding their current Jaza Duka program to provide an extensive COVID-19 relief package to retailers.

Micro, small and medium enterprises are the backbone of the Kenyan economy, yet they have been amongst the hardest hit by the pandemic. According to a survey by the Central Bank of Kenya, 75 percent of Kenya’s small and medium-sized businesses faced collapse without urgent intervention by key stakeholders. As countries around the world forge towards economic recovery, enabling small businesses to recover quickly has been earmarked as a key driver for economic restoration and growth.

Ensuring micro and small businesses continue to access capital is a critical component for recovery, and this has been recognized by the Jaza Duka partners.

‘Jaza Duka’, Swahili for ‘fill up your store’, is part of Mastercard’s Track™ Micro Credit Program. The program is a global, inclusive credit ecosystem for small retailers that helps them overcome cash constraints and enables them to access short-term credit.

To extend their support towards COVID-19 economic recovery, Jaza Duka partners have pooled resources to provide retailers in the program with a business recovery package worth over $150,000. This package will be divided and delivered in the form of direct financial assistance, free health products to meet the rising demand and customized business education and training to help retailers navigate the current business environment and build the foundation for mid- to long-term resilience.

The program combines data distribution from Unilever and analysis by Mastercard to provide micro-credit eligibility recommendations to KCB Bank. The bank then uses this information to assess a retailer’s credit worthiness and extend formal credit for stock purchases – which is interest-free for up to 17 days.

“At Mastercard, we have seen the Jaza Duka initiative transform the lives and businesses of thousands of micro-merchants in Kenya over the last two years. By continuing to enable access to much-needed capital throughout the pandemic and by overlaying that with additional financial and non-financial assistance for retailers in the program, we strongly believe that we can help merchants start to rebuild and position themselves for a more resilient future,” said Natasha Jamal, MEA Regional Director at the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth.

“Unilever’s purpose is to make sustainable living commonplace, where we use our scale to do good in the societies we live in and therefore create an equitable and socially inclusive world. With Jaza Duka, we are able to live true to that purpose. Together with our partners, we are giving back to our customers by enabling them to access what they need to grow their businesses, generate more value and be able to uplift their lives.” Luck Ochieng, Unilever Kenya General Manager.

In light of the success of the program, Mastercard plans to expand the Track™ Micro Credit Program to other markets across Africa, Asia and the Middle East in the coming months.

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