Home Business Empowering the Future: Equity’s Africa Recovery and Resilience Plan for Youth and Women-Owned Businesses

Empowering the Future: Equity’s Africa Recovery and Resilience Plan for Youth and Women-Owned Businesses

by Femme Staff

Equity Bank embarked on an ambitious plan to spearhead the recovery of Africa through the African Recovery and Resilience Plan. The vision behind the plan is to bring the continent back on its feet through well-coordinated efforts and investment towards industrialization and market creation within the continent.  One Africa, one African people and one African market. Equity is proud to be a facilitator for this, and kicked things off by setting aside Ksh16 billion dollars as seed money.  

One of the tenets of the African Recovery and Resilience is to leave no-one behind, and that includes women and youth. The role that women and youth play in driving economic growth cannot be overstated and it is unfortunate that these two demographics often fail to meet their full potential mostly due to lack of resources. The youth bulge we are currently experiencing in Africa is a blessing and not a curse as it is sometimes taken to be. After all, they are young, energetic and bursting with bright ideas which can propel Africa forward.

It is with this in mind that Equity bank provides tailored support for them not only in ARRP opportunities, but across other products as well.

How is Equity coming through for women and youth in business?

Financial inclusion

Ever since inception, Equity Bank entered the market with financial inclusion at its core. With the simple message ‘Karibu Member’, everyone felt welcome and the wave that followed was immense. Equity banked the unbanked in droves and has continued to do so to date. The bank carries the same philosophy into the African Recovery and Resilience Plan by offering a range of financial solutions designed to meet unique challenges faced by women and youth, including investment opportunities, loans, payment plans, and financial literacy training.

Expanding Market Access

Aside from capital, access to markets has always been the bane of businesses, both new and old. The African Recovery and Resilience plan creates broader markets beyond local boarders for women and youth entrepreneurs to take advantage of. By breaking down the barriers to entry into regional and international markets, Equity Bank is helping businesses to tap into new opportunities for growth and development through the ARRP.

Resilience in Times of Crisis

Youth and women owned businesses tend to be more vulnerable in the face of economic upheavals and through financial bolstering, mentorship and crisis management training, Equity aims to help them build resilience. Challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian-Ukraine war taught us the importance of this resilience and ability to adapt to and recover from challenging times.

Innovation and Technology

The African Recovery and Resilience Plan is working around six pillars, one of them being technology. Among the things that the ARRP is looking at to boost trade is e-Commerce and this path is already clear given the spike in online businesses especially during the pandemic. With a largely youthful tech savvy population, Africa already has an edge towards harnessing technology to grow businesses. Successful e-Commerce calls for a strong financial partner and Equity bank is already ahead with technologies such as their robust banking app as well as other online banking services.

Mentorship and training

For women and youth to make the best of the support from Equity, they must be equipped with knowledge, skills, and peer networks required to confidently navigate the complexities of the business world. It is one thing to make money and quite another to know how best to use it for personal and business growth. Training programs equip entrepreneurs with the tools to manage their businesses efficiently while mentorship offers invaluable guidance so they can avoid common pitfalls in business.

Networks, partnerships and trade missions

Isolation and limited networks are always a hinderance to growth and unfortunately it is one of the major challenges that women and youth entrepreneurs face. As the African Recovery and Resilience Plan takes shape and works as per plan, entrepreneurs will be able to make connections with other regional and global businesses, creating opportunities for collaboration and therefore mutual growth. Networking is crucial towards providing platforms for entrepreneurs to showcase products, gain exposure and learn from each other.

In its quest to link businesses to opportunities and expose them to regional trading blocs, the Group organizes annual Trade Missions and Investors Radshows to various markets across the world, with the recent one being the DRC Investors Roadshow. Other previous trade missions facilitated by the Group include but not limited to the Kenya-DRC, US-Tanzania, Belgium-DRC-Rwanda, Singapore-Kenya, India-Kenya, South Africa-Kenya and US-Tanzania-Kenya in 2021, 2022, and 2023 respectively.

The African Recovery and Resilience Plan is a beacon of hope for Africa’s future and women and youth are well positioned to embrace opportunities as well as Equity Bank’s empowerment programs.

Equity Group Managing Director & CEO, Dr James Mwangi was recently on Citizen TV unpacking the Africa Recovery and Resilience Plan, what the video below to learn more about what it means to you.

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