Renewed Partnership to Strengthen Youth-Owned Shops and Build Resilience during COVID-19 Crisis
The Citi Foundation and TechnoServe will work together to support 1,000 youth entrepreneurs across four African countries
Nairobi, Kenya – The Citi Foundation and international non-profit TechnoServe have announced the launch of the fourth cycle of their partnership, the Pan-African Youth Entrepreneur Development (PAYED 4) program, to support young micro-retailers. The program will start in October 2020 and will work with 1,000 youth entrepreneurs in Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, and Tanzania to strengthen their businesses and overcome the challenges that are facing micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), particularly during the COVID-19 crisis.
As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic grows, it threatens the survival of MSMEs, especially in developing countries. In May 2020, TechnoServe carried out a survey on the effects of the pandemic on micro-retailers in Kenya, Kenya, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, and Tanzania, with the findings showing that the containment measures put in place by governments, which includes travel restrictions, states of emergency, and the dusk to dawn curfew, have led to supply chain disruptions which directly affect the micro-retailers. The disruptions have also led to reduced working hours and lower consumer demand, which have resulted in lower incomes for the retailers, posing a risk to their livelihoods.
These businesses play a key role in ensuring millions of African consumers earning less than $2 per day access basic consumer goods, and they provide employment opportunities to other youth, offering a solution to the ballooning unemployment problem in Africa.
PAYED 4 will help these businesses build resilience and create a path to recovery during the COVID crisis. The partnership will include a four-month intensive training program that harnesses digital channels such as WhatsApp, the PAYED App, and SMS platforms to improve youth’s business skills and help them weather the crisis and prepare for future growth. Building on the findings from the survey of micro-retailers, PAYED 4 will help address the challenges faced by the micro-retailers to ensure the survival of their businesses. The program will include harmonized and contextualized training modules across the four countries, based on TechnoServe’s capacity-building approach and crisis toolkit for entrepreneurs.
Since 2017, the PAYED program has supported more than 4,800 youth micro-retailers in Kenya, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Tanzania, to improve their business management skills and provide links to finance and markets. Graduates have seen an average 34-percent increase in their revenue.
‘’The COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge unprecedented in scale and scope, and this is a uniquely difficult moment for most micro retailers and millions of other entrepreneurs in Africa,” said Alice Waweru, regional program manager for PAYED. “But with a combination of the appropriate support at the right time, we can help these vital businesses survive the crisis and support their communities.’’
“As we enter the fourth phase of the PAYED program funded through Pathways to Progress, we are glad to see the impact the program has on youth entrepreneurs in Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Tanzania. The program has so far equipped them with the skills and confidence they need to make a positive impact in their lives and their communities, and also access employment opportunities to succeed in rapidly changing economies,” said Martin Mugambi, CEO and managing director of Citibank Kenya. “During the next one year, the program will play a critical role in helping entrepreneurs recover from the impact of COVID 19 on their businesses. Citi Foundation looks forward to the continued partnership with TechnoServe to support youth entrepreneurs with digital and financial resources to help sustain their businesses and communities.”
TechnoServe is a leader in harnessing the power of the private sector to help people lift themselves out of poverty. A non-profit organization operating in 29 countries, we work with hard-working men and women in the developing world to build competitive farms, businesses, and industries. By linking people to information, capital, and markets, we have helped millions to create lasting prosperity for their families and communities.
Founded over 50 years ago, TechnoServe has been named the #1 non-profit for fighting poverty by the Impact Matters charity ratings agency.
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About the Citi Foundation
The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant communities. The Citi Foundation’s “More than Philanthropy” approach deploys the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation.
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