The US Agency for International Development (USAID), through its local investment arm; Kenya Investment Mechanism, has partnered with Vital Capital to fund agri-businesses in Kenya that have been adversely affected by Covid-19 pandemic.
Vital Capital is an impact investment fund that focuses on companies operating in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Kenya Investment Mechanism (KIM) is a five year program by USAID (Managed by international impact advisory and management firm, Palladium) that aims to finance businesses that have been affected by the ongoing pandemic.
The partnership with Vital Capital plans to collectively provide US$ 5 million for struggling Kenyan businesses, especially those in agribusiness. This is expected to sustain 500+ jobs that could otherwise be lost as a result of the pandemic.
Earlier in May of this year, a Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) revealed that small and medium sized enterprises had been the hardest hit by the pandemic. This includes businesses in industries such as agriculture, manufacturing, transport and tourism. These sectors have reported the largest yet financial losses, regardless of their being the largest contributors to the country’s GDP.
This partnership comes at the heels of Vital Capital’s launch of the Vital Impact Relief facility in April of this year. This is a US$ 10 million emergency loan facility targeting to help struggling businesses to keep the lights on while the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the economy.
Vital Capital’s Managing Partner, Nimrod Gerber said, “We are excited to launch this major collaboration to support Kenyan agribusinesses in what is an incredibly challenging economic environment.”
He added, “KIM’s goals are closely aligned with our own and we have a shared vision for the economic development of the agricultural sector in Kenya. We believe this collaboration has the potential to effect real change and support smallholder farmers to survive the worst ravages of the COVID-related economic crisis.”
“Vital Capital was quick to recognize and fast to respond to the economic consequences of COVID-19 in Kenya, and we are pleased to collaborate with them,” said, Kenya Investment Mechanism, Chief of Party, Roger Bird. He added, “As a long-standing investor in the region and, in addition to bringing new funding and a pipeline of investment opportunities in our target sectors, the Vital team bring a huge amount of experience and expertise of creating positive sustainable impact that will be invaluable as we look to create enduring economic growth in the country.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has continued to destroy economies globally, posing a serious threat to the livelihoods and food security of billions of people worldwide. East Africa is particularly vulnerable seeing as it is also currently battling the worst locust infestation in 70 years, which had already put food security in peril before the pandemic struck.