Uhuru wants banks to fund youth start-up loans and train­ing

Business Daily (Kenya) - - CORPORATE NEWS - James Kar­iuki jkar­[email protected]­tion­media.com Kenyan banks made Sh87.8 bil­lion profit in the first nine months of this year

Banks could soon con­trib­ute funds for tech­ni­cal train­ing and low-cost loans to fi­nance grad­u­ate ar­ti­sans’ start-ups if Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta has his way.

Speak­ing in Nairobi at the KCB Group‘s 2ji­a­jiri grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony for 10,000 youth, Pres­i­dent Keny­atta said yes­ter­day other banks would be re­quired to em­u­late KCB Group by set­ting aside funds for youth em­pow­er­ment pro­grammes.

He said the more than 40 Kenyan banks would be re­quired to reach a con­sen­sus on the so­cial de­vel­op­ment con­tri­bu­tions as well as be re­quired to pro­vide low-priced loans to the youth to start own busi­nesses.

“It can­not be that we pro­tect their (banks’) in­ter­ests but they do not help us de­velop and grow this coun­try by ex­tend­ing af­ford­able loans in a clear man­ner. Let us help the youth ac­quire skills, ex­pose them via in­tern­ships and sponsor them to start busi­nesses,” he said.

This could be a de­par­ture from the norm where pri­vate busi­nesses make own de­ci­sions on how to spend their prof­its from fund­ing ex­pan­sion, pay­ing div­i­dends while re­serv­ing part of their prof­its for cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity projects.

The Pres­i­dent’s pro­nounce­ment would, how­ever, re­quire to be backed by le­gal amend­ments to make it en­force­able. There is cur­rently no in­dus­try that is re­quired by law to channel any por­tion of its profit to such projects.

Kenyan banks made Sh87.8 bil­lion profit in the first nine months of this year, stay­ing on course to sur­pass the Sh96 bil­lion full-year profit for 2017.

KCB chief ex­ec­u­tive Joshua Oi­gara said the lender would spend Sh50 bil­lion in the next five years to youth-owned busi­nesses as loans at an in­ter­est rate of nine per cent.

“In the past 11 months, we have loaned Sh18 bil­lion to medium, small and mi­cro-en­ter­prises who have in turn cre­ated jobs for Kenyans. Un­der 2ji­a­jiri pro­gramme, 23,000 youth have been trained, lead­ing to the cre­ation of 2,000 suc­cess­ful busi­nesses,” he said.


Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta (left) with Gov­er­nor Mike Sonko and Se­na­tor John­son Sakaja (cen­tre) at the KCB 2ji­a­jiri event yes­ter­day.

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