In what appears to be a significant coup for Kenya’s promising Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the World Bank has given consent to a credit injection of USD 50 million to boost innovation and productivity amongst the country’s growing enterprises. This new injection of capital by the financial organization into Kenyan SMEs is taking the form of an International Development Association (IDA) credit, and it is expected to better the lot of some of the country’s most-promising small businesses.
As indicated by figures from the Kenya Industry and Entrepreneurship Project (KIEP), some 33,050 individuals and 2,393 firms are expected to be impacted by the programs that have been designed for the project whose vision is to foster the ambitious development targets, which are central to the East African nation’s development agenda. Significant growth in private sector jobs and overall productivity is vital for Kenya’s envisaged development goals, and the entrepreneurship project has its bearings on supporting that charge.
One of the most significant obstacles that have impeded the development of a solid roster of internationally-competitive and tech-savvy businesses that can steer the Kenyan economy to calmer waters, has been the shortage of the necessary aptitude and skills in critical areas. SMEs are regarded as vital cogs in the East African nation’s economic machinery, but recurrent bottlenecks in their development and productivity have taken the form of uninformed managerial practices and inadequate information on how to evolve and upgrade in recent times. Another major drawback which has done little to buoy the situation is the gulf that exists between traditional industries and technology-enabled startups. This problem has, in effect, translated into missed opportunities for parties on either side of the divide.
Since its establishment over five decades ago, the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) has existed on the ideals of coming to the aid of the world’s poorest countries by financing projects and programs that are designed to boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve the living conditions of financially-disadvantaged individuals. This, it has done by making provisions for grants and zero-interest loans that are billed to facilitate poverty alleviation programs. With a presence in up to 75 of the world’s poorest countries (of which 39 are African), IDA is regarded as one of the front-runners in the drive for third-world economic emancipation.