The Equity Group Africa Recovery and Resilience plan is a bold initiative that was launched by the bank and which intends to rebuild our continent. The bank intends to do this by, catalyzing a resource led transformation of Africa by enhancing agriculture and extractive value chains.
To achieve this, the bank has invested Ksh. 16 Billion in the plan which will be implemented through six strategic pillars that is: Food and Agriculture, Trade and Investment, MSMEs, Technology, Manufacturing and Logistics and Social and Environmental transformation.
Social protection which falls under pillar number six can be termed as a set of policies and programmes designed to reduce and prevent poverty and vulnerability throughout the life cycle. It essentially looks at the ways in which governments and corporates like the Equity Group put in measures to break the vicious cycle of poverty in the areas in which they operate. The main objective being to offer social assistance and capacity building to the poor, vulnerable and marginalized populations. With an aim of transitioning beneficiaries from systemic dependence on aid to being self-reliant.
Equity Bank through their foundation have been able to achieve this by providing inclusive financial services to thousands of marginalized and vulnerable households. Through this, the foundation has been able to achieve financial inclusion in a society which would have otherwise not have been banked.
Other than being provided with bank accounts, the beneficiaries are taken through financial literacy training. The training generally imparts good management habits for earning, spending, saving, borrowing and investing. At the end of it, the participants are then able to work towards their financial goals. They are also enabled to access financing towards their businesses which goes a long way in transforming the lives of the vulnerable in the society. So far over 4 Million households have been impacted by the program with Ksh. 100.7 Billion being disbursed.
A good example of this is Abdi Rahman a refugee from Ethiopia who not only runs two shops in Kakuma but also doubles up as an Equity agent. Other than being an account holder, Abdi was taken through the financial literacy training that enabled him to start saving and eventually borrowing. This is what has enabled him to expand his business to what it is today. The fact that he is an Equity agent under the bamba chakula scheme has enabled him to earn extra cash which will go a long way to ensure that he achieves financial stability.
Eregae Ajikon is a resident of Napatet in Turkana County. She is a beneficiary of the Hunger Safety Net Program by the national government with funds being disbursed through Equity bank. She is also a beneficiary of financial literacy training which taught her how to save, invest as well as how she can go about accessing credit. This has seen her start a business that has enabled her to pay school fees as well as food for her 8 children.
When it comes to training and financial inclusion, Equity Bank has also partnered with the Mastercard Foundation to uplift the youth in their Young Africa Works initiative. The program works by providing young people with training on entrepreneurship skills which prepares them to access finance to start and grow their businesses. So far, beneficiaries of the program that began in 2019 have created over 1.2 million jobs to date and the number is expected to grow to 2 million jobs by the end of the first phase of the initiative in 2024.
In life, there are times when one just needs a push to be able to succeed and move onto the next level. This is what Equity Group has been doing through their foundation and we can expect many more stories of transformation through financial inclusion and training as they roll out the Africa Recovery and Resilience plan. Stay tuned for more of such as we explore other pillars of the plan.