Kenya: Women Fund to Introduce Individual Loan Products
The Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) has disbursed 21.3 billion shillings to more than 1.8 million beneficiaries nationwide.
The fund is expected to introduce new individual loan products in July, in order to reach more women in the country.
Professor Margaret Kobia on Civil Service and Gender CS, said new products will include chama loans, business loans, asset finance loans and kilimo (agriculture) loans aimed at providing more opportunities women to access business development.
The SC took the floor last week when it chaired the disbursement of affirmative WEF funds worth over 29 million shillings to female beneficiaries and an additional 10 million shillings to Times U Sacco in Tigania West, Meru County.
Last January, the WEF announced that it would launch two new products that would improve the empowerment of women.
They include a new lending model that is more flexible and empowers individual women’s entrepreneurship where women can borrow money for individual projects under the umbrella of their groups.
The fund also introduced enhanced funding for women’s groups up to one million shillings, up from an earlier cap of 750,000 shillings.
The WEF, the National Government Affirmative Fund, the Youth Enterprise Development Fund and the Uwezo Fund are the affirmative funds that have been at the heart of the national government’s transformation and empowerment agenda.
A study to assess the impact of affirmative action funds in Kenya conducted by the World Trade Organization last year, indicated that the beneficiaries had achieved enormous success.
The survey showed increased access to credit, the creation of new businesses, the contribution to self-employment, with the company’s proceeds being used to supplement tuition fees.
He also noted that there had been improved food security, investment in business expansion; increased access to local and international markets; and access to business development and entrepreneurial skills that enabled beneficiaries to actively participate in business development.