Khalifa Fund to provide $30m to support development of SMEs in Kenya

The funding is part of the Abu Dhabi agency's programme to promote entrepreneurship in the East African nation

Kenya's capital, Nairobi. The country's economy, East Africa's largest, staged a 'remarkable recovery' from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the World Bank said. Reuters
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The Khalifa Fund For Enterprise Development will provide $30 million in financing to small and medium enterprises in Kenya, as part of efforts to support the capital Nairobi's programmes to boost the economy and create jobs.

The funding is part of the Abu Dhabi agency's agreement with the East African country's National Treasury and Planning Ministry to help the Kenyan Youth Enterprise Development Fund and promote entrepreneurship, UAE state news agency Wam reported on Saturday.

The agreement was signed by Alia Al Mazrouei, the fund's chief executive, and Ukur Kanacho Yatani, Cabinet secretary for the ministry, in the presence of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.

"We aim to support the Kenyan government efforts to achieve economic development through enhancing the SMEs sector, and spreading the culture of entrepreneurship among youth and women's empowerment," Ms Al Mazrouei said.

The pact also aims to unlock the potential of the youth to help them contribute to building a sustainable economy, she added.

Kenya's economy, East Africa's largest, staged a "remarkable recovery" from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and grew 7.5 per cent in 2021, outpacing Sub-Saharan Africa's 4 per cent, data from the World Bank shows.

The country's economy remained strong in early 2022, but it is facing external challenges, including commodity shocks resulting from Russia's military offensive in Ukraine, the World Bank said.

Under the agreement, more than 3,000 projects — with 40 per cent allocated for women — will be funded, and are expected to generate about 13,000 jobs for the Kenyan youth, Ms Al Mazrouei said.

The agreement would also help boost the development of rural areas, support the launch of projects and deliver comprehensive growth to reduce poverty, Mr Yatani said.

Last month, the UAE Ministry of Economy announced that the Emirates and Kenya will soon start negotiations on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Cepa), which would be the first Cepa that the UAE signs with an African nation.

The agreement would deepen trade and investment ties between Africa and the Middle East, as well as boost the total value of UAE-Kenya non-oil trade, which grew to $2.3 billion last year.

The UAE’s Cepa deals with India, Israel and Indonesia are expected to expand the country’s economy by 2.6 per cent by 2030, Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said last month.

Updated: August 06, 2022, 2:00 PM