Equity Group partners with UNHCR and WFP to transform livelihoods of refugees at Kakuma and Dadaab




Equity has partnered with the World Food Programme (WFP) and United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to implement projects aimed at stimulating sustainable development.

Equity has been at the forefront of promoting financial inclusion and social integration for refugees in Kenya. As part of the Private Sector Partners Mission, Equity Group MD and CEO, Dr James Mwangi, visited the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Turkana County. This mission was initiated by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), which invited Equity Group to serve as a private sector catalyst for a new refugee integration initiative known as the “Shirika Plan”.

(TOP: Equity Kakuma Business Growth and Development Manager Daniel Makhulo –  right – discusses refugees’ banking experiences to UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner Kelly Clements – left – who was accompanied to the branch by Equity Group Foundation Executive Chairman Dr. James Mwangi – second right – and Safaricom’s Chief Financial Services Officer Esther Masese  – second left. UNHCR has invited Equity Group to be a private sector catalyst for a new refugee integration initiative named “Shirika Plan”).

The plan is a collaborative program involving UNHCR, the State Department for Immigration, and the private sector. The Shirika Plan is a five-year transition initiative designed to foster socio-economic inclusion for both refugees and host communities in the Kakuma and Dadaab Refugee Camps.

Speaking of the partnership Dr Mwangi, who is also the Executive Chairman of Equity Group Foundation (EGF), said: “We chose to collaborate with UNHCR as their programs align seamlessly with our mission at Equity Group Foundation. After engaging in discussions with authorities, including a session with the State Department for Immigration, we are confident about our areas of collaboration. The integration process is gradual, and we are proud to be an integral part of it.”

Dr. Mwangi stated that the mission to Kakuma represents a united effort by the private sector to tackle the difficulties encountered by refugees and foster their economic inclusion and integration. He further noted that EGF has significantly focused on health and is contemplating extending the Equity Afia franchise network within the refugee camps. This planned expansion aims to provide high-quality affordable healthcare to an increased number of refugees.

The UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner, Kelly Clements who led the mission to Kakuma expressed gratitude to Equity Group for its willingness to help accelerate the integration of refugees and host communities.

She said: “Our strategic partners, Equity Group, have been big supporters of what we do. These kinds of partnerships and missions mean a lot. Thank you for the pledges you made on behalf of Equity last December,” said Clements, while referring to Equity Group’s commitments regarding support for migrants at the Second Global Refugee Form in Geneva last December.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), EquityBCDC and the World Food Programme (WFP) are collaborating on a project, titled “Promotion of Sustainable Food Security in the DRC“. The goal of this ambitious initiative is to encourage the growth of a sustainable agro-industrial sector. This sector will aid in diversifying the economy, ensuring food and nutritional security, creating employment opportunities, and enhancing livelihoods within the DRC. The pilot phase is currently underway in two provinces, Kongo Central and Kasai Oriental, with plans to scale it up to the rest of DRC.

Peter Musoko, Representative and Country Director of WFP in the DRC, commenting on the partnership said, “Innovative finance has the power to turn challenges into opportunities, driving sustainable development and growth in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with women and youth at the forefront.”

EquityBCDC and the World Food Programme are dedicated to fulfilling the project’s goals through five key strategies:

  • Support in boosting the productivity, production, and income of farmers.
  • Building capacity and providing support for young men and women to secure dignified and rewarding jobs in agro-industries.
  • Encouraging and promoting competitive agro-transformation and valorization driven by the private sector.
  • Enhancing beneficiaries’ access to financial resources (credit) and markets.
  • Managing the project effectively and strengthening crucial institutions within the value chain.

This project is set to create impact in the lives of local community members by bolstering food security, generating employment, and enhancing living conditions. These outcomes align with Equity’s vision of becoming “the champion of socio-economic prosperity of the people of Africa” and the WFP’s mission to “Save Lives and Change Lives”.

Equity Group is a non-operating holding company with banking subsidiaries in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan and DRC, a Commercial Representative Office in Ethiopia and non-banking subsidiaries in Kenya that are engaged in providing investment banking and stock-broking, insurance, custodial services, payment services and telecommunication services.

Equity Group Holdings Plc is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange and other regional exchanges with a market capitalization of $1.35 billion. Equity Group reported a consolidated asset base of Kshs 1.69 trillion ($12.82 billion), deposits of Kshs 1.24 trillion ($9.40 billion) and a customer base of over 19.6 million customers as of March 31, 2024. Equity Group has a footprint of 404 branches, 83,142 Agents, over 1 million Pay With Equity (PWE) Merchants, 33,179 Point-of-Sale (POS) Merchants, 828 ATMs and an extensive adoption of digital and mobile banking channels.

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