Equity has signed up to the Young Africa Works – Kenya; a public private partnership between the Kenya Government, Mastercard Foundation and the private sector. The transformative and holistic program, funded by Mastercard Foundation to the tune of Ksh 30 billion will transition 5 million Kenyan youth to dignified work by 2023. On that note, Equity will deploy its banking infrastructure as well as the Equity Group Foundation platform to implement the program.
Speaking during the launch of the program, the CEO and Managing Director of Equity Group Holdings, Dr James Mwangi said that they will extend affordable loans to over 600,000 entrepreneurs through the bank while the Equity Group Foundation will offer free digital literacy, financial and entrepreneurship training, as an effort to support entrepreneurs in scaling up their business. Mwangi added that they excited to be among the pioneer signatories of this ambitious as well as transformative program. Dr Mwangi further noted that strengthening the MSMEs will equip them with the right capacity and capabilities to bridge the corporate sector and narrow the gap between the formal and informal sectors in the country through linkages. This will in turn strengthen business ecosystems and form formidable networks that will benefit from shared knowledge and best practices.
In the first 18 months of project implementation, Equity will extend loans of up to Ksh 150 billion to 140,000 MSMEs and scale to Ksh 420 billion to 600,000 MSMEs over a five year period. Equity Group Foundation (EGF) will provide digital and financial literacy as well as entrepreneurship training to the entrepreneurs. It will also provide business development support and market linkages to enable owners to grow and sustain their businesses as well as mentor other entrepreneurs in the network.
While launching the program, His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta lauded its partners, including Equity Bank Group, who will provide financial and digital literacy and entrepreneurship training to MSMEs to support owners to grow and sustain their businesses and to mentor other entrepreneurs in the network. President Kenyatta stated that when small firms and entrepreneurs access financial services, they obtain the resources they require to grow, expand into new markets and opportunities, create jobs and establish inter-generational wealth.
According to Mastercard Foundation President and CEO Reeta Roy, Kenya has a vibrant entrepreneurial culture, a strong private sector, and an enabling policy environment. Reeta added that Young Africa Works-Kenya, will build on this momentum to prepare as well as connect young people to opportunities that will grow the economy and transform their lives.
Equity has had a long partnership with Mastercard Foundation in implementing successful social impact programs especially the transformative and globally acclaimed Wings to Fly program, and the Financial Knowledge for Africa program (FiKA). EGF has to date supported to 16,168 students at over 600 public secondary boarding schools through its Wings to Fly program with Mastercard Foundation committed to sponsoring 10,000 bright but socioeconomically challenged students. Under the FiKa program, 1,739,478 women and youth have graduated in financial education. (FIKA) while another 44,111 MSMEs in Kenya have been trained.