ABN - Mastercard and Unilever have established a strategic partnership that will assist Kenyan micro-entrepreneurs in overcoming cash constraints through a digital platform.
The platform has been named Jaza Duka (meaning ‘fill up your store’ in Swahili) and combines distribution data from Unilever and analysis by Mastercard to determine how much inventory any store has bought from Unilever over time.
The results from the analysis are then used to provide a micro-credit eligibility recommendation to KCB Bank Kenya (KCB), which tackles the common issue posed by banks that usually require formal credit history or collateral.
This results in merchants having to borrow from informal lenders at high-interest rates, trapping them in a cycle of debt. However, the Jaza Duka platform aims to prevent this barrier often faced by entrepreneurs.
“Micro and small businesses are the economic backbone of communities around the world,” said Ajay Banga, president and CEO of Mastercard.
“There’s an opportunity to set these businesses up for long-term growth by bringing together the tools and data from different industries to change the model of small business financing.”
By the end of April, more than 5,000 kiosk owners in the wider Nairobi area had applied to join the programme. All are expected to be fully enrolled by mid-May.