MEDA, in partnership with Global Affairs Canada, is increasing the business profitability and supporting economic growth in 20 counties experiencing poverty across Kenya.
During the seven years that M-SAWA ran, the project served nearly 8,000 clients (sole practitioners and businesses) and created and sustained 2,327 jobs through boosting business profitability and economic growth.
M-SAWA is an acronym derived from the Swahili words ‘Maendeleo Sawa’, which means Equitable Prosperity.
The goal of M-SAWA is to contribute to Kenya’s economic growth and increase job creation by improving the business, environmental, and gender performance of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and small entrepreneurs (SEs) in the agriculture, construction, and extractives sectors. M-SAWA targets 20 counties experiencing poverty along Kenya’s two major economic growth corridors.
The project will benefit 250 SMEs and 20,000 SEs including:
While Kenya is one of the wealthier countries in Africa, high levels of inequality and poverty remain, especially in rural areas. The Government of Kenya has set ambitious economic growth goals but to achieve them, it is essential to support the growth of local businesses, particularly in the agriculture sector (which currently employs 60% of the population) and the growing construction and extractives sectors.
Many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have access to growing markets but lack the quality supply from SEs to meet this demand. They are also often unable to take advantage of market opportunities as they lack access to business support services, investment capital and other forms of financing. Women-led SMEs and SEs face increased challenges in these areas due to existing gender inequalities and barriers.
Farmers also find it challenging to access agricultural inputs, and the technology and financing they need to adapt to the impacts of climate change and maintain consistent production.
To effectively strengthen Kenyan SMEs and SEs and achieve its goal, M-SAWA works with key actors in the Kenyan business eco-system including: lead firms (LFs), business associations, business development service (BDS) providers, private equity investment (PEI) funds, and the Government of Kenya.
MEDA leverages these existing relationships and market incentives, working through LFs to support grant initiatives benefiting the LFs and the SEs and SMEs within their supply/distribution chains. This may include out-grower schemes, green technology price discounts, formation of alliances for collective marketing, and improved environmental and gender practices. Similar grants are offered to business associations to address shared supply chain limitations.
In addition, MEDA aims to improve the performances of SMEs by co-funding business consulting services with Kenyan BDS providers and investment firms, including Lundin Foundation. M-SAWA increases access to finance by partnering with Business Partners International (BPI) to offer investment capital as well as providing referrals for SMEs interested in accessing debt or equity financing to investment partners and financial service providers.