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Khalifa Fund offers $30 million to support Kenya’s SMEs sector

In implementation of directives of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Khalifa Fund For Enterprise Development (KFED) and National Treasury & Planning Ministry in the Republic of Kenya have signed a Dhs110 million ($30 million) financing agreement to empower the Kenyan Youth Enterprise Development Fund.

Signed in the attendance of President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya by Alia Al Mazrouei, CEO of KFED, and Ukur Kanacho Yatani, Cabinet Secretary, National Treasury & Planning Ministry, the agreement aims to promote entrepreneurship and develop Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Kenya.

Alia Al Mazrouei said the financing agreement, which embodies the close friendship ties between the UAE and Kenya, aims to support the Kenyan government efforts in economic development, promote innovation and innovative projects, create job opportunities for youth in addition to unlock their potentials, develop their skill and empower them to contribute in building a sustainable, sable national economy.

‘’We aim to support the Kenyan government efforts to achieve economic development through enhancing the SMEs sector, and spreading the culture of entrepreneurship among youth and women’s empowerment,’’ she added.

Under the agreement, she continued, more than 3,000 projects with 40 per cent allocated for women will be financed and expected to generate nearly 13,000 job opportunities for the Kenyan youth.

She underscored the UAE’s commitment to support the official development efforts of the least developed countries, and to enable them to enhance their economic performance, in order to achieve economic and social stability, which positively affects the global economy and international stability.

For his part, Ukur Yatani expressed his thanks and appreciation to the UAE for this important support, which will enable many segments of society, including women and youth, to contribute positively to building their country’s economic future, praising the strong relations that unite the two friendly countries.

He explained that such agreements will have a positive impact, helping to advance development in rural areas, support the launch of projects, create job opportunities in the future, and deliver comprehensive growth to reduce poverty.

Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development in February announced its plan to establish an innovation and entrepreneurship centre in the Republic of Kenya.

The centre will focus on launching programmes, workshops, and initiatives; providing aspiring and established Kenyan entrepreneurs with guidance on how they can implement innovation into their entrepreneurial endeavours, with the aim to empower their entrepreneurial ecosystem in a bid to strengthen the stability of their national economy. Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development recently held its inaugural international capacity building services with a three-day training programme in Zanzibar. The training programme was attended by Dr Islam Seif Salim, Permeant Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Industrial Development, and commenced with a welcoming speech by Khalifa Abdul Rahman Al Marzouqi, UAE Ambassador to Tanzania.

The workshops were consisted of expertise training in Business Planning, Entrepreneurship Development, Financial Modelling, Idea Sourcing, soft skills and Business Model Canvas, and came as a leadership directive from Alia Al Mazrouei, CEO of KFED’s Enablement & Non-Financial Services Sector.

Khalifa Al Marzouqi said that the occasion reflects the strong, strategic and historical partnership between the two countries. He also highlighted the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Khalifa Fund and the Ministry of Finance and Planning in Zanzibar, which was signed in 2019.

Alia Al Mazrouei added, “Launching this programme for the first time outside the UAE is a reflection of the strong bond we share with Zanzibar’s esteemed government and its ambitious people. “As the newly appointed CEO of the Enablement Sector & Non-Financial Services of Khalifa Fund, it is a great honour to deliver the first international capacity building programme in Khalifa Fund’s history. This marks a remarkable milestone for both the organisation and for entrepreneurs across the world. We strive to make this the first in a series of worldwide enterprise development efforts, through Khalifa Fund’s esteemed International Affairs department.”

She continued, “The UAE’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is currently recognised as the best in the world by the Global Monitoring Index and thus we aim to transfer our knowledge and share our successful entrepreneurism model with the wider world. We look forward to producing more workshops to the enterprise talents in Zanzibar, as well as across the 23 countries that Khalifa Fund currently operates in.”

Khalifa Fund’s international outreach efforts commenced in 2015, and have been brought about by strategic partnerships that support the transfer of knowledge and economic growth both in the UAE and globally, through international outreach in 23 countries. This expansion of Khalifa Fund’s global efforts came through the implementation of government directives and in partnership with official agencies in countries which thereby aided in knowledge-based, economic growth for SMEs.