Uwezo Fund Oversight Board Set to Enhance Financial Inclusivity

Nairobi — The inauguration of the Uwezo Fund Oversight Board took place today with Cooperatives and MSME Development Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui officiating the event. The ceremony held at Lonrho House marks a pivotal step in the government’s efforts to support women, youth, and people with disabilities through Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

According to Kenya News Agency, who spoke at the Thursday gathering, the Board’s formation underscores the government’s dedication to fostering financial inclusivity and ensuring that the Uwezo Fund reaches its intended recipients. Chelugui urged the newly inducted Board members to exercise vigilant oversight and propel the Fund towards achieving significant growth and effectiveness.

Chelugui noted the strategic appointment process designed to facilitate succession and maintain continuity within the Fund’s leadership. He also aligned the inaugural Board meeting’s agenda with the government’s overarching strategies, particularly the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA), which aims to elevate financial inclusion and bolster MSMEs among traditionally underserved communities.

Highlighting the importance of MSMEs in stimulating job creation and broadening economic prospects, the Cabinet Secretary reflected on the achievements of the Kenya Kwanza transformation plan, illustrating the government’s resolve in cultivating an enabling environment for MSMEs. Chelugui shared figures indicating the Fund’s success, pointing out the disbursement of financial aid to over one million individuals, the provision of entrepreneurial training to several groups, and the facilitation of market access.

Emphasizing adaptability, Chelugui encouraged the Board to stay abreast of global economic shifts and tailor the Fund’s initiatives to match government-focused areas, which include innovating loan products and business support services in critical sectors.

Additionally, Chelugui underscored the transformative power of digital technologies in economic growth and directed the Board to expedite the digitalization of their operations, aligning with the government’s developmental goals.

Ms. Ann Njuguna, the appointed Chairperson of the Uwezo Fund Oversight Board, articulated the organization’s dedication to establishing strategic, long-term partnerships and stressed the need for process and programme automation as a significant leap towards modernization.

On behalf of the Board, Njuguna highlighted the importance of a synergistic relationship with the Ministry, aiming to serve Kenyan citizens with diligence and integrity. The Chairperson expressed a transformative goal for job creation in Kenya, emphasizing the Fund’s commitment to converting beneficiaries into job creators through entrepreneurship support and financial resource provision.

Lastly, Njuguna addressed the Fund’s novel approach to promoting responsible financial habits, including an innovative repayment facilitation through laundry services, which is anticipated to inculcate a savings culture among the beneficiaries.

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