The Economic Enterprise Restart fund (EERF) is intended to provide cheaper funding to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs) as well as village savings and credit associations (VSLAs) to enhance their productivity and provide both digital & technical support in capacity building and institutional development. The EERF will drive financial inclusion through the digital banking process. It will build economic activity sustainability that will help create employment opportunities. This will further increase consumption, and avert poverty in the rural and peri-urban areas.
Stanbic Bank Chief Executive, Ms. Anna Juuko said, the fund has identified key individuals, businesses and groups that are financially vulnerable by the pandemic. They will receive low-cost finances from the bank to allow them to boost their business capital, increase daily income or cash flows and empower them to become financially stable.
“Our commitment to the Economic Enterprise Restart fund is an opportunity for a new type of partnership between the UN and a leading private sector institution-Stanbic to adapt and respond to the impact of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable sectors of the economy and the most likely segments of the population to be left behind. This is a also recipe to finance Sustainable Development. I look forward to having other partners join us,” said UN Resident Coordinator, Rosa Malango.
This intervention in support of vulnerable populations, will help counter the effect of Covid-19 on the economy. The digitization of the informal sector through this initiative will provide the Government and policymakers the much-needed data for planning future interventions to increase household incomes and alleviate poverty.
How communities will benefit;
Executive Director of Stanbic Bank, Ms. Emma Mugisha, said the intention is to grow businesses and create employment. It will widen the tax base through improved economic activity, and increase export base and import substitution thus a stepping stone towards reviving the economy. She further noted;
“The Economic Enterprise Restart Fund will also improve the socio-economic status of women in rural areas. The fund will empower them to become financially stable. They will then establish or boost their small-scale businesses. They will also procure their needed equipment and infrastructure for their economic activity. This will eventually enable them take better care of their children and families.”
“Through the Stanbic Business Incubator, we shall provide financial literacy for SMEs, SACCOs, VSLA’s and enterprises. This is to enhance the development and sustainability of their businesses. This will integrate them into the financial sector. It will ensure they have access to mainstream banking channels and credit facility. They will also get digital and capacity building training,” Ms. Juuko emphasized.
By transforming the lives and livelihoods of women and vulnerable groups in the rural areas, the EERF will be able to increase individual household income. It will ensure that every home has access to quality and affordable education and healthcare, clean energy, cooking, and water. These are essential aspects of socio-economic development, personal wealth creation, and financial protection.
As we begin the last decade of action to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, this partnership will create a bridge for those in the informal sector during this COVID-19 times.
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