It has been noted that micro and small businesses in East Africa have experienced a larger decline in businesses activity compared to medium and large firms due to the impacts of the novel COVID-19 pandemic.
In a move to cushion such economic impacts in the region, Mastercard Foundation in partnership with Inkomoko has granted $2.3 million as Recovery and Resilience Programme to support Rwandan businesses.
The support expected to be distributed as direct relief grants to 3,500 MSMEs, including 1,000 entrepreneurs through Inkomoko Relief Fund.
The grant aimed at re-build or restarting businesses that have been closed and supporting businesses to adapt to a new business climate.
Nathalie Niyonzima, Managing Director at Inkomoko, says; “By adapting and increasing their support to entrepreneurs who are more than ever in need of business advisory and financial support as well as young people, refugees, and micro enterprises, we are ensuring that the economic growth of Rwanda is not set back from COVID-19 pandemic, and that we can be unified in recovering together.”
According to Niyonzima, the new programme was part of Inkomoko’s larger COVID-19 relief efforts that will provide recovery support for approximately 9,000 micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) across the country.
Inkomoko’s grant initiative is aligned with the Rwandese government’s socio-economic inclusion of refugee and host communities, which envisions better standards of living for refugees and their surrounding host community by improving their livelihoods and supporting families in their self-reliance journey.
The Inkomoko entrepre- neurship programme aims to restore the dignity of refugees living in Rwanda by empow- ering these small business owners with vital support to grow their businesses.
“The intention is to connect refugees with the tools and skills necessary to enable them to become self-sufficient and independent entrepreneurs to improve their own livelihoods, create jobs for others in their communities, and contribute to Rwanda’s larger economic development. Rwanda’s refugee camps and host communities are places of vibrant social and economic activity with bustling markets, shops, restaurants, and industries.
Inkomoko has been a lead livelihoods partner of the Ministry in charge of Emergency Management (MINEMA) and UNHCR Rwanda to execute this strategy. The inclusive policies of the government make it possible for refugees to improve their lives through their entrepreneurial spirit.