The Micro and Small Enterprises Authority (MSEA) and international nonprofit TechnoServe have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will see micro-retailers across Kenya benefit from financial empowerment, advisory services, and capacity building.
The partnership will focus on promoting business growth, facilitating access to financing, formalizing MSEs through registration, developing capacity-building programs, promoting market access, and addressing post-harvest losses. The partners are supporting the launch of the National Duka-owners Umbrella Organisation, a new national umbrella body advocating for the interests of micro-retailers.
The National Duka-owners Umbrella Organisation is registered with MSEA under the Registrar of MSEs and brings together duka owners from ten regional associations: the Nairobi Duka-owners Association (DOA), Kiambu DOA, Kipevu DOA, Jomvu Mtopanga DOA, Kibera DOA, Kayole Junction DOA, Kangundo DOA, Machakos DOA, Mathare DOA, and Nairobi CBD DOA. This national umbrella body is poised to advocate for the interests of micro-retailers, providing a vital platform for collaboration and addressing sector challenges.
Speaking on the partnership during the signing ceremony held in Nairobi, MSEA CEO Mr. Henry Rithaa said, “Our mission is to create an environment that makes our MSE sector globally competitive, and we are honored to partner with such noble stakeholders who are appreciative and aligned to meet this national goal. Through this partnership, we can leverage our expertise and resources to support micro-retailers MSMEs address challenges, by giving them better access to capacity-building, market access, common user facilities, and financial linkages to enhance their productivity and profitability.’’
This initiative is a culmination of the Smart Duka program, a collaborative effort of TechnoServe and the elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization. The program’s goal is to enhance micro-retailers’ efficiency, formality, and sustainability while strengthening partnerships between ecosystem actors and micro-retailers. At a critical juncture for micro-retailers facing challenges such as high costs and declining consumer purchasing power, the National Duka-owners Umbrella Organisation will play a pivotal role in helping members overcome these hurdles.
Alice Waweru, Regional Entrepreneurship Director at TechnoServe, highlighted the importance of this launch, stating, “The National Duka-owners Umbrella Organisation is a watershed moment for micro-retailers in Kenya. By uniting, members can now effectively address challenges, negotiate better agreements, and access more affordable financing.”
Through MSEA’s countrywide reach in the 47 counties, micro-retailers under the National Duka-owners Umbrella Organisation will now have access to training and advisory services, financial services, and new domestic and international markets. The collaboration aims to ensure the association aligns with government regulations, fostering a formalized and compliant micro-retail sector in Kenya.
This MoU aligns with the government’s agenda, which prioritizes the holistic well-being of MSMEs—the bedrock of economic transformation in the country. This deliberate focus on MSEs recognizes their growing catalytic role in steering the nation toward a prosperous future.
The micro-retail sector significantly contributes to the Kenyan economy, generating KES 816 Billion in 2022 and employing 9.32 million Kenyans. Since 2021, the 42 business groups have reached 1,600 micro-retailers, with 67% being women-owned enterprises. The impact is evident, with businesses accessing KES 14,815,000 in finance and a group savings portfolio now standing at KES 5,196,535.