The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) and the Mastercard Foundation have jointly established a Covid-19 recovery programme for the benefit of at least 100,000 micro and small enterprises run by the youth and young women.

Under the scheme, firms will get short-term interest-free loans to help them carry on with operations and maintain their staff under the prevailing tough market disruptions.

The advances will be derived from a Sh600 million fund established by the Mastercard Foundation.

Beneficiaries of the programme will be KNCCI members and the chamber’s association affiliates.

“Supporting the micro and small enterprises sector is a key priority for KNCCI. The Covid-19 pandemic has ravaged this sector and most businesses are yearning for finance that is affordable and a simplified process of accessing credit. This programme shall deliver much-needed relief for the sector,” said project director Nemaisa Kiereini during the launch of the plan.

The one-year plan will be implemented by the KNCCI through its chapters across the 47 counties, and will have a special focus on businesses in agriculture, retail, healthcare and manufacturing sectors.