KCB has recently announced a collaborative agreement with the Kenya National Federation of Jua Kali Associations (KNFJKA) to facilitate affordable credit and capacity building for the members of this umbrella organization.

The agreement establishes a practical framework for cooperation, where KCB Bank and the KCB Foundation will actively support initiatives that enhance participation, coordination, collaboration, cooperation, and synergy within the Jua Kali sector.

This strategic alliance primarily benefits Jua Kali Association members involved in Carpentry, Woodcrafts, Metalworks, Soapstone crafts, Leather production, Textile products, Clay/Poetry crafts, Beekeeping, Mechanical Engineering, Food processing, and Electrical sub-sectors. They gain access to a comprehensive range of financial and non-financial services provided by the bank, aimed at fostering their growth.

During the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding, Ms. Angela Mwirigi, KCB Bank’s Director of Digital Financial Services, emphasized the pressing need to revitalize the Jua Kali sector by introducing essential market-driven competencies. This step serves as an initial phase towards transforming the sector.

Ms. Angela stated, “The partnership we are unveiling today addresses the urgent requirement for stakeholders within the Jua Kali sub-sector to tap into formal entrepreneurial opportunities currently available, with the ultimate aim of advancing decent work for all. KCB Bank Kenya and KCB Foundation will closely collaborate to ensure that your members are well-positioned within the local and regional skills development ecosystem.”

Despite the Jua Kali sector’s significant contributions to the economy, it still faces systemic challenges that hinder its full potential. These challenges include inadequate market opportunities for their products, limited access to relevant social protection services such as pension and insurance, inadequate infrastructure, and the absence of a recognized framework for skills development and upgrading.

“There is overwhelming evidence suggesting that the Jua Kali sector can enhance its competitiveness by actively engaging in formal support initiatives. Thus, we have the opportunity to connect them with an inclusive financial system that acknowledges their skills and appreciates their contributions to the economy. As a bank with extensive regional network coverage, we are well-positioned to support this endeavor,” added Ms. Angela.

Mr. Richard Muteti, CEO of the Kenya National Federation of Jua Kali Associations, commended KCB’s decision, recognizing its potential to unlock the full capabilities of the informal sector.

“As stakeholders in this sector, we wholeheartedly welcome KCB Bank and KCB Foundation’s involvement. Through their respective interventions, we will gain the capacity to focus on and expand our entrepreneurial endeavors. Consequently, we eagerly anticipate reaping the complete benefits of a robust SME sector that guarantees sustained growth,” Mr. Muteti expressed.

According to the Economic Survey 2022, around 80 percent of the slightly over 900,000 jobs created in 2021 were in the informal sector, predominantly consisting of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). To enable the flourishing of informal enterprises, effective business support across key engagement areas is essential.