Unilever, KCB and Mastercard partner to provide loans to small merchants

Unilever East Africa, KCB Bank Kenya and Mastercard have teamed up to roll out a program that helps small retailers be able to purchase Unilever products on credit.

The program called Jaza Duka allowed small retailers to purchase merchandise on credit, interest-free for up to 17 days. Almost 18,000 small retailers in Kenya have signed up for Jaza Duka, with an expected deployment of 30,000 by the end of 2019.

To be eligible for program enrollment, a store must have stocked and sold Unilever products in the past. Unilever’s distribution data and additional analysis from KCB will determine credit eligibility. Once the line of credit is approved by KCB, they will receive money through a Mastercard digital payment solution.

Dennis Njau (left to right) Head of KCB Commercial Bank Channels, Sarah Macharia, Shalom Shop Owner, Luck Ochieng, Unilever East Africa Sales Director and Adam Jones, Head of Mastercard’s East Africa region

Store owners also receive training funded by Mastercard’s philanthropic arm, the Center for Inclusive Growth, on the importance of using credit responsibly. After an initial phase of face-to-face training, in which 5,000 stores were trained, a digitally scalable mobile training program, provided by Arifu, a Nairobi-based company, was launched in December 2018. Already, 5,000 retailers have access to this free training. and this is set to grow rapidly.

Luck Ochieng, Unilever’s sales director for East Africa, echoed the benefits of the partnership, calling it an important step in Kenya’s financial inclusion journey to enable more retailers to expand. their activities. “Jaza Duka, in line with Unilever’s sustainable business program, is a true testament to what business partnerships can do to help Kenyans rise out of poverty and ultimately grow the economy.”

“Providing access to credit is an important engine of growth for these micro-traders,” says Adam Jones Mastercard Head of East Africa Region. “But Jaza Duka stands out for the importance we place on training retailers. Understanding how to use credit responsibly is just the start. Over time, this training will equip retailers with a range of skills to help them grow their businesses ”.

“There is an opportunity to prepare these companies for long-term growth by bringing together tools and data from different industries to change the model of financing small businesses. We see this partnership as a great advantage in strengthening our role as a catalyst for trade and doing business in East Africa, ”said Dennis Njau, Channel Director of KCB Bank Kenya. “This is part of our commitment to simplify and transform the lives of our customers to enable them to progress,” she said.

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