The economic future of the youth, women and persons living with disability in Kilifi County was planted on Thursday by the Governor the right Honourable Amason Jeffah Kingi.

Kilifi County Micro Finance Fund, popularly known as MBEGU FUND is a revolving fund whose initial capital is funded by the County Executive, after which the youth, women and persons living with disability can access interest-free loans.

Attached, find the speech by His Excellence Governor Amason Jeffah Kingi.

Invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, Good morning. I am very pleased to join you today. What a pleasure to see so many young entrepreneurs, and so many distinguished Kilifians. Let me also recognize and thank all of you for finding time to come to my office. It’s a pleasure to host all of you. Karibuni

Once again I wish to welcome you to this auspicious occasion as we officially launch the Kilifi County Microfinance Fund popularly known as the “Mbegu Fund”. This is a revolving fund, with its initial capital being monies allocated by the County Executive and approved by the County Assembly. It aims to empower small and medium entrepreneurs registered with the Kilifi County Government by providing interest-free loans to help them start and manage their own businesses.

It goes without saying that this program has been at the heart of my Government since inception, with the aim of empowering them and be part of our transformation agenda as a County. By launching this fund today, we are creating a platform for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to thrive by providing capital either to start up or expand their existing business enterprises. We cannot afford to let the energy and enterprises of our young Kilifians go to waste or

remain unutilized because through their ventures, they also create jobs for themselves and for others, thereby alleviating poverty levels in our beautiful County.

As a Government, we have noted with much concern that Small and medium enterprises face many obstacles in our County including cumbersome start-up procedures, difficulty in accessing capital, skilled labour, political instability and corruption. But among all these issues, access to finance remains by far the most cited obstacle experienced by firms trying to formalize, grow and increase productivity thus the need of the County to establish the Kilifi County Microfinance (Mbegu) Fund. Despite the immense challenges they face, SMEs are the source of more than half of formal and informal employment opportunities worldwide.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Fellow Kilifians,

The Kilifi County Mbegu Fund, therefore, targets small and micro entrepreneurs registered with the County Government of Kilifi and comprises of Individual business people (sole proprietors), registered groups and Co-operatives societies. The Fund offers Agribusiness loans, Business loans, LPO financing and Asset financing. I wish to congratulate the first group that will receive their loans here today. As pioneers of this fund, your hard work and diligence will determine the success of this program and our ambitions to achieve the Big 4 Agenda as a County. These are: Manufacturing, food security, affordable housing as well as the attainment of universal healthcare.

As young entrepreneurs, I must insist that you play a very key role in the attainment of the Big 4 Agenda in our County. In every area you partake, I encourage you to proactively manage the resources at your disposal; be innovative and distinguish yourselves for the betterment of our generation and those to come.

Today my government through the Department of Trade, Tourism and Cooperative Development is disbursing loans worth KES. 30M to various Youth and Women groups. This also includes People Living with Disabilities and Cooperatives. This, we believe, will help boost our youth, women and residents in empowering themselves economically.Through the Mbegu Fund Board, my Government will now allocate 1% of the total County Budget to be set aside for disbursements of interest-free loans to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). This approximates to at least KES. 120M being disbursed annually as from the financial year 2019/2020 going forward.

As a Government, we have consistently dedicated our resources towards empowering our youth, women as well as persons with disabilities to ensure we have an all-inclusive transformation journey. We have also taken bold and deliberate measures to ensure we diversify our economic activities as a County so that we improve the living standards of our people. A big example is the investment conference, which we held 2 years ago where we unpackaged to the world the immense bankable projects that can be carried out in our County. We also hosted the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) conference and also attended the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference held in Nairobi late last year. All this is in a bid to sell Kilifi’s investment opportunities to the world. So far, we have a steel milling industry in Rabai, a fruit processing industry about to be built in Bamba, Ganze and a port ready for construction at Takaungu, Kilifi North.

All these efforts are intended to achieve a maximum outcome of contributing to industrialization, food security and creation of sustainable employment for the great people of Kilifi County. In this regard, apart from the creation of forward integration, the revival of the cashew nut and coconut industries will open up new substantial opportunities for our people.

Wanakilifi wenzangu,

The key to achieving our aspirations as a County, including the Big 4 Agenda as envisioned by H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta lies in working together in deliberate and premeditated partnerships. The collaboration between my administration, the County Assembly and the Kilifi County electorate will play a pivotal role if we are to succeed in our transformation agenda. I therefore direct my officers to be more accommodative and engage the public and the County assembly in matters development so that we enjoy shared development and prosperity as the Kilifi County community.

As I conclude, I wish to reiterate our commitment as a Government in providing support towards empowering our Kilifi community economically through different business initiatives and ventures. I wish all the groups that are receiving their loans today all the very best in their business endeavors. May the spirit of hard work and determination lead you and may it inspire youth fellow youths as well.

Asanteni Sana naMungu awabariki.

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