IFC launches contest to spur growth of enterprises in Kenya’s refugee camps

An aerial view shows recently constructed houses at the Kakuma refugee camp in Turkana county, northwest of Nairobi, Kenya, January 31, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank, on Tuesday announced the launch of a competition to stimulate growth of businesses in Kakuma and Kalobeyei refugee camps in northern Kenyan county of Turkana.

IFC said in a statement released in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, the competition that runs from September 14 to November 5 encourages businesses to submit proposals for funding and training aimed at facilitating their growth.

Other entities supporting the Local Enterprise Development Competition include Nairobi-based non-profit group, Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF), Turkana county government and UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

The broader goal of the contest is to support private sector development and job creation in the vast and drought-prone Turkana County, empower refugees and host communities.

“This competition demonstrates IFC’s commitment to local businesses in Kenya and our efforts to uplift host communities and refugees with private sector solutions,” said Jumoke Jagun-Dokunmu, IFC’s regional director for Eastern Africa.

Jagun-Dokunmu noted that Kakuma refugee camp and the adjacent region has untapped business potential that requires adequate funding and training to unlock and create new jobs for the youth.

Overseen by Kakuma Kalobeyei Challenge Fund (KKCF) which is a joint initiative of IFC and AECF, the Local Enterprise Development Competition focuses on market-led solutions to economic and social challenges facing refugees and their host communities.

Winners of the contest will be announced in early 2022 and will leverage new funding and capacity development to expand their businesses, transform the lives of refugees.

AECF’s CEO Victoria Sabula said the competition targets small and medium-sized enterprises owned and operated by residents of Turkana county including refugees. The competition will pay special attention to businesses owned by women and youth that require capital injection to expand their geographical reach as they generate employment.

The winners of the third edition of Local Enterprise Development Competition will receive performance-based grants ranging from 1.5 million shillings (about 13,648 U.S. dollars) to 5 million shillings besides advisory support focusing on marketing, financial management and publicity.

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