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Mastercard and Unilever to work on micro-credit digital platform for African SMBs

Wednesday 2 May 2018 | 09:54 AM CET

Mastercard and Unilever have partnered to help micro entrepreneurs in Africa and other emergent regions overcome the cash constraints.

In Kenya, the two companies have launched Jaza Duka (“fill up your store”). The initiative combines distribution data from Unilever and analysis by Mastercard, on how much inventory a store has bought from Unilever over time. The results from the analysis are used to provide a micro-credit eligibility recommendation to Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB).  

The programme gives small businesses who do not have a formal credit history access to financial instruments that can help them grow. 

If the micro-credit line from KCB is approved, the store owner is able to increase their purchases of product from what they can buy with cash on hand to what they can actually sell. For example, if a store is consistently showing weekly purchases of USD 50 from Unilever they could qualify for an interest-free credit line of USD 120 to stock their inventory.  The credit line from KCB is provided through a secure Mastercard digital payment solution.

 “Financial inclusion is a key enabler of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals – lifting individuals out of poverty and supporting overall economic growth. By broadening our collaboration with Mastercard, working across sectors and including additional private and public partners, we are further expanding the positive impact of financial and economic inclusion” said Paul Polman, chief executive, Unilever.

Over time, the payment history from shopkeepers’ participation in Jaza Duka can pave the way for these business owners to access other financial services, including small business loans.

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