There is undeniably a very active talk shop about the importance of the jua kali ( Kenya’s informal business sector) sector in promoting a developing economy such as Kenya’s. The fact that the sector contributes to the vibrancy of the economy is well established and cannot be gainsaid. Policy papers, economic blueprints, and financial inclusion manifestos have been produced by government sector professionals and financial sector stakeholders in a bid to establish how to make the Jua kali sector count and be counted.
True to these efforts, there have been commendable strides at broadening the financial inclusion bracket especially when it comes to access to loans. The big question though is, have these efforts to broaden financial inclusion been enough?
Credit access limited
Yet, for all the strides so far, the greater jua kali sector still feels greatly exposed and underserved especially in terms of credible and reliable credit lines. The ability to access quality loans is hampered especially so for the famous Mama Mboga, the Jua kali grocery lady who painstakingly wakes up early in the morning to seek supplies in the market and set up shop, finding limited growth opportunities due to limited capital.
Hurdles to access credit
The little available credit lines require that she maintains an active bank account and produces bank statements which are a bit hard given the Jua kali nature of the business . Then there are mobile money credit options that are limited in their reach and amounts they qualify for. They also charge exorbitant fees and lack a proper understanding of the realities on the ground. Mama Mboga is mainly cash-heavy establishments and thus sometimes struggles to even qualify for meaningful credit capacity on their mobile money wallets.
Welcome Situ Sokoni
Situsoko is the Mama Mboga’s answer to economic opportunity and financial independence. It is planned in such a way to make sense of the informal amorphous structure that the Mama Mboga economy is structured and offer credit opportunities that fit neatly into that. The Jua kali Mama Mboga economy is actually very well organised, but only if you take the time to understand the nuances of that unit better.
Most of these jua kali Mama Mboga people are organised into rough table banking entities and as well have reliable lines of suppliers. It just so happens that both these sources are often insufficient to provide the kind of liquidity to make the jua kali enterprise flourish. Situ Sokoni plans to meet these jua kali mama mboga players at their point of need.
Accessing Small traders
Pesa Sokoni plans to access the very small traders who have regular/permanent operation spots and who have some model of business ongoing. Situ Sokoni creates a strong relationship with the Jua kali Mama Mboga to understand well the liquidity gaps that they need to fulfill to grow their business.
No Collateral (Non-Secured Loans)
Pesa Sokoni loans are not offered with any collateral. These personally created relationships are the only collateral required to sustain the credit line with probable inter-market guarantees by the players. Situ Sokoni sends its representatives to set up offices in the market places where trade actually happens. Situ Sokoni’s representatives have a much more clear understanding of the business environment since they are not far removed from the realities on the ground.
Boots on the ground
Having boots on the ground in the markets is very helpful to ensure that Situ Sokoni understands the nuances of the jua kali market and lends adequately as per the needs of the traders.
Now the Mama Mboga can access enough supplies to meet her market needs without worrying about her insufficient credit line with her supplier, mama mboga can grow her business steadily and improve her market share. The small businessman who trades his wares to a limited clientele but knows they can grow with more capital and diversify what they are offering, or get more goods at lower prices and improve their margins can now take advantage of Situ Sokoni non-secured loans to achieve their objectives.
By broadening this access to credit to the bottom of the Jua Kali pyramid, Situ Sokoni is staying true to Situ Credit’s mission of being a core business facilitating agent in the Kenyan economy.
About Situ Credit
Situ Credit has been an active player in the Kenyan economic landscape offering other products that have greatly broadened credit access. Through their core product offering, logbook loans, Situ Credit has been able to disperse millions of shillings to thousands of Kenyans who own a motor vehicle but struggle to qualify for bank loans. The logbook loans have been offered conveniently on the same day of application without much hustle. Now, Pesa Sokoni proves to be a new milestone of broadening access to even a new lower cadre of jua kali businesses who may not have any collateral but want to carry on their daily businesses.