KCB Bank has embarked on a significant endeavor by entering into a collaborative agreement with the Kenya National Federation of Jua Kali Associations (KNFJKA), aiming to facilitate affordable credit provision and empower members within this prominent umbrella organization.

This groundbreaking partnership establishes a pragmatic framework, wherein KCB Bank and the KCB Foundation will lend their support to various initiatives aimed at fostering enhanced participation, coordination, collaboration, cooperation, and synergy within the esteemed Jua Kali sector.

The alliance is specifically designed to benefit members of the Jua Kali Association belonging to diverse sub-sectors such as Carpentry, Woodcrafts, Metalworks, Soapstone crafts, Leather production, Textile products, Clay/Poetry crafts, Beekeeping, Mechanical Engineering, Food processing, and Electrical sub-sectors. These members will gain unparalleled access to a comprehensive array of financial and non-financial services provided by the bank, thereby fueling their growth and development.

During the momentous signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding, Ms. Angela Mwirigi, the highly regarded Director of Digital Financial Services at KCB Bank, underscored the dire need for the Jua Kali sector to receive a well-deserved rejuvenation through the injection of vital market-driven competencies, thereby catalyzing a transformative shift within the industry.

“We recognize the pressing urgency for players within the Jua Kali sub-sector to harness the abundant formal entrepreneurial opportunities currently available, with the ultimate objective of progressing towards comprehensive employment opportunities for all. Through a closely aligned collaboration between KCB Bank Kenya and KCB Foundation, we are committed to ensuring that your esteemed members find themselves optimally positioned within the ever-evolving skills development eco-system, both at a local and regional level,” asserted Ms. Angela.

Despite the Jua Kali sector’s remarkable contribution to the economy, it continues to grapple with systemic challenges that impede its full potential. These challenges include the lack of adequate market avenues for their innovative products, limited access to vital social protection services such as pension and insurance schemes, insufficient infrastructure, and the absence of a robust framework that recognizes the significance of skill enhancement and continuous learning.

“The extensive body of evidence unequivocally demonstrates that the Jua Kali sector can exponentially elevate its competitiveness by actively embracing formal support initiatives. Thus, we have a unique opportunity to seamlessly integrate them into an inclusive financial system that wholeheartedly acknowledges their exceptional skills and invaluable contribution to the broader economy. Leveraging our bank’s extensive regional network coverage, we are fully equipped to support this noble endeavor,” added Ms. Angela.

Mr. Richard Muteti, the distinguished CEO of the Kenya National Federation of Jua Kali Associations, warmly welcomed KCB’s pioneering initiative, recognizing its profound potential to unlock the untapped resources within the informal sector.

“As committed stakeholders within this vibrant sector, we wholeheartedly embrace KCB Bank and KCB Foundation’s invaluable support. Through their transformative interventions, we anticipate a strengthened focus on upscaling our entrepreneurial endeavors. In turn, we eagerly look forward to reaping the rich rewards of a robust SME sector that guarantees sustainable growth and prosperity,” expressed Mr. Muteti.

According to the recently published Economic Survey of 2022, an astonishing 80 percent of the slightly over 900,000 jobs created in 2021 materialized within the informal sector, predominantly driven by small and medium enterprises (SMEs). This glaring reality underscores the indispensable need for comprehensive business support mechanisms across various critical areas of engagement to foster an environment conducive to the flourishing of informal enterprises and subsequently nurture their boundless potential.

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