Mastercard expands Jaza Duka lending scheme with Kasha, surpasses Kshs 1 billion in loans to MSMEs in Africa




Kasha, the purpose driven digital retail and distribution platform, has joined Jaza Duka, Mastercard’s micro credit digital lending platform in Africa. The program, launched in partnership with Unilever and KCB Bank Kenya, has now expanded to include an additional 5,000 Micro Small and Medium- Enterprises (MSMEs) through Kasha. The program aims to help micro-entrepreneurs overcome cash constraints that limit their ability to buy and sell more products and ultimately grow their businesses.

The announcement builds on Mastercard’s pledge to bring 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025, with a direct focus on providing 25 million women entrepreneurs with the solutions they need to grow their business. With over half its merchant members being women, Jaza Duka directly supports Kasha’s mission to ensure women in emerging markets get the products, information, and services they need for their health, self-care, and well-being.

(TOP: A Jaza Duka merchant).

As well as expanding to reach more MSMEs with Kasha, Jaza Duka has also evolved functionality to enable topmeup, a new overdraft-based sales service linked to a Mastercard debit card. The topmeup overdraft is enabled through collaboration with Correlaction, the fintech integrating the physical and financial value chains in Jaza Duka. Topmeup helps to further remove financial barriers for store owners, allowing them to leverage a pre-approved overdraft to increase capacity and expand the range of digital purchases.

“Mastercard understands that small businesses are the backbone of the economy, and we are long standing supporters of MSMEs. We tailor our innovative solutions towards building a better and more equal world where everyone can reach their potential. We also believe in the power of partnerships, and this expansion of Jaza Duka with Kasha is one more way we continue to enable sustainable, inclusive growth that will not only benefit the new merchants, but grow their communities,” said Shehryar Ali, Country Manager, East Africa. 

Commenting on joining Jaza Duka, Joanna Bichsel, Kasha’s Founder and CEO said: “Kasha and Mastercard have a shared commitment to empower women to reach their full potential. Through Jaza Duka we are providing female entrepreneurs in emerging markets with the tools they need to grow their business and support their livelihoods, while also enabling people in lower income communities to gain access to quality affordable health products and household goods. Kasha’s digital platform unlocks access to products, information and services; and now with our partnership with Mastercard we can remove lack of finance for MSMEs as a blocker as well. We are thrilled to be partnering with a purpose driven corporation such as Mastercard.”

Luck Ochieng, the MD, Unilever Kenya said: “Jaza Duka continues to go from strength to strength, having now passed Ksh 1.2 billion transactions to support micro merchants across Kenya run and grow their business. Over half of those merchants are women, fifty four percent, and we see average monthly sales uplift of up to 20% for members. The Program continues to build on the strength of our relationships with our distribution network, freeing the retailers from the constraints of cash-based business and expanding their economic resilience.” 

The latest development is the next step in a journey Mastercard and Kasha have been on since Kasha joined Mastercard’s award-winning start-up engagement program, Startpath, in 2019. Mastercard has since invested in the ecommerce platform and the partners continue to join forces to empower women and micro-entrepreneurs across Africa.

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