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World Bank approves Sh5 billion for SME loans

Bags vendor. FILE PHOTO | NMG
A bags vendor. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

More than two thousand Kenyan startups are set benefit from a Sh5 billion World Bank kitty aimed at boosting entrepreneurship and innovation in small businesses.

The funds, under the International Development Association (IDA), will be disbursed via the global lender's Kenya Industry and Entrepreneurship Project.

World Bank Country Director for Kenya Diarietou Gaye said the cash would enable firms to create jobs as well as help solve current challenges.

“We are committed to supporting Kenya in creating employment and business opportunities as part of the county’s wider strategy to fast-track economic growth,” she said in a statement Monday.

The funds will directly benefit 250 SMEs, 640 students, 15 corporates, 162 startups, 30 technology hubs and 7 technology bootcamp providers.

“In today’s fast-paced, globalised economy, start-up driven innovation is key for economic development as it creates new jobs for the growing youth demographic,” she added.

The World Bank said the kitty will focus on supporting innovations that address Kenya’s Big 4 development agenda of affordable housing, manufacturing, healthcare, food security and Vision 2030 with key emphasis being to empower the private sector to create new jobs.

“The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, through the Kenya Industrial Transformation Program, prioritises technology and innovation as the cornerstone for national industry development and the role that private sector firms play in driving Kenya’s industrialization,” said the statement.

According to the latest economic review, 787,800 jobs were created within the informal sector compared to 110,000 formal jobs created in the past year.

Key CBK Indicative Exchange Rates: $1 = Sh101.1