IFC, others launch enterprise competition in Kenya refugee community

11 Nov 2020, 12:00 am
Financial Nigeria


Successful private sector companies and social enterprises will be awarded performance-based grants.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), together with the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF), the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Turkana County Government in Kenya have launched a global competition aimed at supporting investment, development and job creation in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee community.

According to a statement sent to Financial Nigeria by the IFC on Tuesday, the competition is part of the IFC/AECF Kakuma Kalobeyei Challenge Fund (KKCF), which is being implemented in partnership with the Turkana County Government and UNHCR. The $25 million KKCF initiative is a five-year programme designed to support private sector investment and unlock the economic potential of refugees in the Kakuma camp and those living in the surrounding host communities in Turkana County, northwestern Kenya.

Innovative businesses and social enterprises from around the world are invited to submit proposals for the private sector and social enterprise windows of KKCF. Entrants in these two windows of the challenge are to submit proposals for private sector and social enterprise projects to be developed in Kakuma, home to roughly 300,000 people of different nationalities, almost 200,000 of whom are refugees and asylum seekers.

The focus of this phase of the KKCF is on renewable energy, agribusiness, and financial services for private firms. Social enterprise projects are to focus on water, sanitation, recycling, or childcare sectors. Application process for the competition opened on November 10, 2020 and will close on December 22, 2020.   

“Refugees rely on humanitarian aid for immediate support, but the private sector has an important role to play providing longer-term development solutions and opportunities,” said Jumoke Jagun-Dokunmu, IFC Regional Director for Eastern Africa. “This competition aims to nurture the business opportunities that abound in the Kakuma refugee hosting area, support job creation, and help global businesses deliver quality goods and services to the roughly 300,000 people who live there.”

IFC’s Kakuma as a Marketplace study, published in 2018, helped change the perception of refugees by highlighting the development possibilities, entrepreneurial spirit, and market opportunities found in the Kakuma camp, according to the statement released yesterday.

“We are very happy at AECF to be a partner to this innovative programme that will bring new opportunities to people in Kakuma,” said Victoria Sabula, Chief Executive Officer of AECF, a development institution that supports businesses to innovate, create jobs, leverage investments and markets. “We look forward to seeing the innovations this fund inspires and working with the competition winners as they transform lives and livelihoods.”

IFC said private sector companies and social enterprises who are successful in the competition will be awarded performance-based grants, which also require co-financing from the companies. In addition to the funding, the companies will be given technical support to implement commercially-viable and sustainable projects that have the potential to raise incomes, provide goods and services, create jobs, and improve living standards in both the Kakuma camp and the adjacent host communities.

“IFC, UNHCR, and AECF are our good partners, and through this competition we welcome businesses from around the world to invest in projects in Turkana that will support development and create jobs,” said Josphat Koli Nanok, Governor of Turkana County.