The bank through Equity Group Foundation has partnered with The MasterCard Foundation and announced a Ksh 915 million program that will provide financial education to 620,000 youth and women in Kenya over the next three years.├é┬áThis program builds their financial capacity through a comprehensive 12-week financial education program – covering budgeting, savings, debt management, financial negotiations and banking services.

Participants learn basic economic concepts and gain an understanding of how to use a range of financial services – such as savings, insurance and credit products. During the ceremony, over 1000 graduates of this program also received their certification paving way for other regional graduation ceremonies across the country.├é┬á”This partnership is about financial inclusion,” said Reeta Roy, president and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation. “It will enable youth and women micro-entrepreneurs to access financial services and create economic opportunities for themselves.”

As part of this program, 7,500 participants will be selected for intensive entrepreneurship training and mentoring, and will receive practical coaching to expand their businesses. “Over the years, women and youth in Kenya have faced difficulties with regard to employment, access to finance and business knowledge.

Training these two key demographic groups in financial literacy is aimed at providing them with financial advisory services, supportive networks and knowledge that will facilitate their path to accessing finance to start and grow their businesses.

This program delivers these critical tools and empowers people to change their own lives.” said Dr. James Mwangi, CEO of Equity Bank and Chairman of Equity Group Foundation. Dr. Mwangi also chairs the Delivery Board of Vision 2030 – Kenya├óÔé¼Ôäós strategy to become a middle-income country by 2030.├é┬áDr Mwangi further added, “This program has made a deliberate effort to target the youth in recognition of the fact that 75% of Kenya’s population are in the 18 to 35 years age bracket. This is the segment of our population that is most affected by economic challenges such as unemployment and lack adequate business management skills.”

In addition to the Government’s MSE fund, Equity Bank has also set aside Ksh 30 billion in credit to participants who complete the program. To date, the program has trained 57,000 people across the country and 26,000 have received credit for their business plans.

During the ceremony, Equity Bank also unveiled its agency banking business. Dr. Mwangi said that the agent business is helping in deepening financial access by taking financial services to the last mile. He encouraged the new graduates of the financial education to embrace Equity agent banking now available in their neighborhood to access financial services. “We are witnessing financial deepening through agency banking.

Customers in locations where we do not have a physical Equity Bank branch will no longer have to spend time and money to visit the branch. They can walk to a nearby agent and make their transactions like opening an account, withdraw or deposit cash, pay bills, pay school fees, top-up airtime among other services. The agency services are complemented by the mobile phone banking making banking easily accessible and very convenient for all.

About Equity Group Foundation

Equity Group Foundation was established by Equity Bank to create the financial and operational infrastructure for social programs aimed at low income population. This innovation and creative vehicle has fully transformed the concept of philanthropy and corporate social responsibility.

While Equity Group Foundation champions the social economic transformation of the people of Africa and seeks partnership along six cluster thematic areas, Equity Bank provides the infrastructure of delivery hence reducing the operational cost of the Foundation and increasing the rate of return on any social investment.

Equity Group Foundation, with support from the MasterCard Foundation will now train over 620,000 youth and women in financial education, has 5600 comprehensive secondary school scholarships, 1300 scholarships for university education including admissions at IVY league of schools and has been instrumental in agricultural transformation under the green revolution for Africa under its Kilimo Biashara initiative in partnership with AGRA, Government of Kenya and IFAD.

The Foundation focuses on six key social thematic areas of Education and Leadership development, Financial Literacy and Access, Entrepreneurship, Agriculture, Health, Innovation and environmental protection.

About The MasterCard Foundation

The MasterCard Foundation advances microfinance and youth learning to promote financial inclusion and prosperity. Through collaboration with committed partners in 40 developing countries, The MasterCard Foundation is helping people living in poverty to access opportunities to learn and prosper.
An independent, private foundation based in Toronto, Canada, The MasterCard Foundation was established through the generosity of MasterCard Worldwide at the time of the company’s initial public offering in 2006. For more information, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org.

Krista Pawley
Vice President, Communications, The MasterCard Foundation- +16478375787