MasterCard, KNCCI unveil interest free loans to MSME in Garissa

Written By: Ronald Owili

MasterCard Foundation Project Coordinator Louis Kabuchu addressing traders in Garissa County. PHOTO | Courtesy

Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in Garissa County will access short term loan at zero interest in a move backed to help bridge financing gap among traders.

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The programme that has been rolled out by the MasterCard Foundation and the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry will see eligible members receive short term revolving interest-free loans of between Kshs. 1,000 and Kshs. 31,000.

Speaking during the launch, MasterCard Foundation Project Coordinator Louis Kabuchu said the programme will ensure small businesses in the county who hardly qualify for loans from mainstream lenders have access to credit to help them revive their business that have incurred drawbacks as a result of COVID-19.

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According to Kabuchu, at least Kshs. 300M have been disbursed to hundreds of beneficiaries in various counties under the Kshs. 600M project.

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“We encourage youth aged between 18 and 35 years while women from the age of 18 to 70 years to apply for this loan. It’s an interest free loan that does not have so many conditions to be obtained,” said Kabuchu.

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The foundation targets businesses that had been operating at least one year before the pandemic outbreak in the country in March last year.

Kabuchu noted that the key objective of the program is to encourage economic sustainability, inclusivity and resilience.

“The kitty will target mostly mama mbogas, boda boda operators, hawkers, mkokoteni operators among others small traders,” she added.

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KNCCI Vice Chair Fatma Elmaaway encouraged small business owners to take up the opportunity to bolster their businesses.

Elmaaway called on local traders both men and women alike to join the chamber of commerce for training and other benefits noting that the chamber of commerce safeguards businesses.

MSME were also trained on the process of the applying for the funds as well as eligibility criteria.

The beneficiaries are supposed to pay back the loans within two months before qualifying for another round.

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