The Coca-Cola System in Kenya, in partnership with the County Government of Laikipia; Women Enterprise Fund (WEF); Absa; and Amref Health Africa in Kenya have launched an initiative to support small and micro business outlets across the country to recover and reopen after the COVID-19 impact on the economy that saw most of them lose revenue and close.
The support is targeting 18,000 trade outlets across the country who will receive personal protective equipment including masks and face shields, handwashing jerry cans, sanitizers, and garden furniture to enable them to enforce the required social distancing. They will also be provided with communication and awareness materials related to COVID-19 safety and precautions.
Phillipine Mtikitiki, Vice President and General Manager, Coca-Cola East & Central Africa Franchise said “ To help those who have always been at the heart of our social fabric but had to temporarily close, we as a system, have committed sh125 million towards supporting our trade partners and waste collectors, eateries, restaurants, bars and kiosks.”
Under the initiative, the traders and their staff will also benefit from COVID-19 health and safety training provided by Amref Health, to help them adhere to business opening and operating guidelines as per government directives. Absa, the financial business partner will facilitate access to business loans to the traders that require working capital to revive their enterprises, including restocking.
While speaking at the event, Absa Regional Corporate Director for East Africa, James Agin, explained that under this partnership, the bank shall support affected businesses across the entire value chain with revolving short-term working capital financing to bridge any cash flow challenges between stock purchase and receipt of payment from their customers.
“We will offer small and medium businesses unsecured loans of up to sh10 million which is the highest in the market, as well as LPO financing and invoice discounting of up to sh50 million amongst other benefits. We will also offer insurance and asset-based financing. This will allow the distributors and retailers the flexibility to accept extended payment terms from manufacturers as well as increase their credit should they require it,” he added.
The initiative has partnered with the County Government of Laikipia’s Economic stimulus programme to provide trade finance to the county’s distributors and retailers. Hon. Ndiritu Muriithi, Governor, County Government of Laikipia, emphasized: “The retailers under this Coca-Cola scheme operating in Laikipia are eligible for business loans to help them restock and accelerate recovery from COVID-19 pandemic and will benefit from County Government of Laikipia’s interest cost subsidy of up to 5 percent. The county has already committed sh123 million to the Economic Stimulus program, of which sh73 million will cater for the interest cost subsidy.”
Eng. Charles Mwirigi, WEF CEO, underscored: “to complement the efforts by Coca-Cola, the Fund has committed over sh2 billion to provide affordable and relevant loans to support women traders besides business skills training to enable them to bounce back from the impact of Covid-19 pandemic.”
Small traders and waste collectors across the country have experienced unprecedented losses occasioned by the effects of the Coronavirus that continues to spread across the world. These losses have subjected households and families, and our environment to numerous challenges.