Uganda’s Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are going to access affordable credit to help them get back into business.
This is after the launch of the COVID-19 recovery and resilience programme by Brac Bank and Brac Uganda, a non-governmental Organisation, with support from Mastercard Foundation.
The program aims at supporting the recovery of Uganda’s MSMEs that have been greatly affected by the pandemic.
Speaking during the launch of the programme in Kampala, Jimmy Onesmus Adiga the managing director Brac Uganda Bank, said the programme is intended to improve economic access and recovery for 5,400 women group borrowers, with access to microloans at a low-interest rate.
He also added that the funds will help build the capacity of Brac’s 2,891 community health workers and ensure their safety as they work to reduce coronavirus infection rates.
George Matete the director Brac NGO said that the project will be implemented using a multi-pronged approach that ensures security, safety and safeguards, builds partnerships, raises awareness in communities about COVID-19 safety precautions and contributes to the social and economic resilience of their livelihood.
He also noted that due to the diversity of the targeted beneficiaries in terms of financial exclusion and physical attributes, the interventions are uniquely tailored to suit each of them. This will help them realise their potential and sustainably transform their lives out of poverty.
The Head Business Development and Strategy, Brac Uganda Bank, William Alemi said that of the 5,400 businesses to be refinanced, about 1,134 are youth-led.
“We recognise that all the people across the country were hit by the pandemic and most of our clients’ businesses did not survive this. So Mastercard Foundation provided for us funds for on-lending at discounted interest rate so that we help our clients’ businesses to come back to at least the levels where they were before they were hit by the pandemic,” he said.
The Mastercard Foundation Uganda country director Samuel Yalew Adela said the urgent need to find a lasting solution is due to the fact that Africa still has unprecedented challenges, with the majority of its young people unable to find jobs.
“There are about 700,000 young people who join the labour market every year but there are no jobs. Unless we do business differently, we will not see different results. If we are not coping up the pace in creating opportunities for these young people, we are not going to solve the problem,” he said.