Unilever, KCB and Mastercard partner to drive COVID-19 economic recovery among retailers

KENYA – Mastercard, Unilever and KCB Bank have pooled resources to provide retailers with a business recovery package worth over US$150,000, under their joint program known as ‘Jaza Duka’ swahili word for ‘fill up your store’.

The extended support is aimed to facilitate COVID-19 economic recovery among the micro, small and medium enterprises that have been amongst the hardest hit by the pandemic.

This package, according to Africa Business Communities 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.

“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.”

MEA Regional Director at the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth – Natasha Jamal

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.

“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,” said Luck Ochieng, Unilever Kenya General Manager.

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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.

Jaza Duka 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.

“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.

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.

Meanwhile, Nestle has partnered with South Africa based fintech platform Nomanini and Standard Bank, to provide technological and operational support to informal retail Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) across the Eastern and Southern Africa Region (ESAR).

Under the partnership, the retailers will be offered uncollateralised loan in the form of physical stock from Nestle following analyses of the MSME’s sales history by Nomanini.

The analysis will be necessary in order to create a credit score for the retailers and determine their credit worthiness.

If approved the food giant company will be able to provide the much-needed working capital by the retailers to stock a wide range of high-quality products through Nomanini’s platform.

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