Foundation helps Ethiopian small businesses save 1,000 jobs

NEWS- Mastercard Foundation has injected $3.2 million in 11 small businesses in Ethiopia to help them maintain their 1,060 employees in the face of COVID-19 pandemic.

The Foundation provides the grant under its COVID-19 Recovery and Ressilient Program, according to Alemayehu Konde Koira, Mastercard Foundation Country Head for Ethiopia. Mr. Alemayehu indicated that the primarily engagement of the Foundation in Ethiopia and Africa over the past years has been to create jobs.

Meanwhile the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has forced the Foundation to include this new program that helps small business from cutting jobs, according to Mr. Alemayehu, who indicated that Mastercard Foundation aims to help creation of 30 million jobs across Africa by 2030. Globally the market disruption caused by the global pandemic at national and international level has been forcing many companies to cut jobs.

Semhal Guesh, Founder of KABANA Leather, one of the 11 small businesses selected to benefit from the $3.2 million grant, says, she was about to shut down the company sending all her 80 employees home. She stated that the fact that 90 percent of KABANA’s market was outside Ethiopia, makes her company badly affected by the outbreak of the pandemic.

The grant from Mastercard will help KABANA and the other ten women-owned small businesses engaged in production of fashion, to start producing personal care equipment such as face masks and the like to keep their employees on their jobs. In collaboration with an Ethiopia technology company, Kifiya Financial Technologies, the grant also provides a marketing platform and support to the 11 small businesses.

“We are excited to be able to extend our partnership with the Mastercard Foundation to enable SMEsto access markets and credit, if needed, through leveraging our eCommerce, eDelivery, and digital payment technologies. It is evident from this program that the Foundation’s strategy is comprehensive in its approach to match immediate challenges with long-term opportunities. The SMEs are equally excited at the prospect of being able to repurpose while transitioning to improved digital capabilities,”said Munir Duri, CEO and Founder, at Kifiya Financial Technologies.

Enzi Shoes, FIF Trading PLC, Gaber Textiles, Habte Garment, Kootekett Leather, Mafi, Meron Addis Abeba, Sadula Business PLC,The Look Interiors, and Yefikir are the other Ethiopian women-owned small businesses, which are selected for the $3.2 million saving jobs grant of Mastercard Foundation along with KABANA.