The East Africa Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (EACCIA) President Mr. Richard Ngatia, in partnership with the European Business Institute in Luxemburg has rolled out a plan to issue 28,000 scholarships worth nearly sh 4 billion to bridge this gap in East Africa as a majority of small and micro enterprises have suffer lack of financial literacy.
Financial literacy, which is a tool that makes optimal business decisions to grow their business, EACCIA and European Business Institute in Luxemburg are intervening with an offer of scholarships to bridge this gap in East Africa.
In the partnership, the institute is distributing at least 2,000 scholarships to each of the members of the East Africa Community including Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Zanzibar, DRC Congo, Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Somalia.
With each scholarship worth 740 Euros (KSh 130,000), this comes to a whooping Sh 3.6 billion worth of scholarships in a historic initiative between the EACCIA and the Luxembourg-based institute.
According to EACCIA president Richard Ngatia, the scholarships will cover a three-month certificate course executed between January and March to include Business Management, Business Finance, Applied Blockchain Technology and Artificial Intelligence Integration.
Other courses in the program include Micro and Macro economics, Managerial Accounting as well as Entrepreneurship and Communication.
Announcing the scholarships, which become effective immediately, the EACCIA President Ngatia encouraged entrepreneurs, especially the young ones, to take advantage and apply immediately.
“We are making a big step forward to improve the human capital in our region so that businesses can be managed better for improved results and sustainability,” said Mr. Ngatia who is the immediate former President of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI).
Previously, these scholarships had been successfully given to women in the business chapter of the KNCCI under the leadership of Mr. Ngatia.
In order to streamline the process and coordination of the scholarships the EBU and EACCIA will see a smooth and efficient transition from scholarship confirmation to course enrolment through contact persons in each of the 14 East African countries earmarked for the programme.
Recently, EACCIA expanded its membership and outreach beyond East Africa and has invited membership to Comoros, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Madagascar and Seychelles, Angola and Zambia
In addition to strengthening SMEs and other informal sectors in the region, the EACCIA has in its strategic goals undertaking capacity building interventions to the various national chambers of commerce in the region.
“This is in order to ensure that the various chambers are able to respond to the needs of their members in an effective and most productive fashion, “said Mr. Ngatia when he announced the scholarships.
Under his stewardship, Ngatia was able to attract more members to the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) from a population of about 20,000 to more than 60,000 members registered directly and another 1 million through associations owing to enhanced advocacy for an enabling business environment.
The EACCIA President is member of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) World Chambers Federation (WCF) General Council, the chairman International Conference on Great Lake Region-Private Sector Forum-ICGLR in Africa, deputy patron of Kenya National Federation of Jua Kali Association and a board member of East Africa Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Agriculture and also Trustee PERAK.
Other than the scholarships, the EACCIA seks opportunities for support learning processes through study tours and trade tours where traders learn from the experience of others in a peer education strategy.
In communication with the EACCIA, the European Business Institute in Luxemburg has thanked the business leadership for dedication to advancing education In East Africa Region and Africa at large.
“We are honored to collaborate with the East Africa Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture to make a positive impact through education,” it said.
According to the Global Financial Literacy Survey released last year, 62 per cent of the 55 million Kenyans are financially illiterate.
This is compared to Uganda’s 66 per cent, Tanzania’s 60 per cent and South Africa’s 58 percent with financial illiteracy.
The aggregate effect has been low savings and resultant low investment among households and small and medium businesses in general.
This is indicated in the 2021 EFG Hermes report showing Kenya’s marginal propensity to save derived from the difference of income and savings stood at 13 per cent of the GDP – well below the continent’s overage of 17 per cent.
Incidentally, Uganda and Tanzania have a higher propensity well above 20 per cent despite having relatively lower GDP than Kenya.
“For the region to better its savings and investments portfolio, a better savings culture can be improved through financial literacy and that is what this scholarship is meant to address,” said Mr. Ngatia who is also a member council of the World Chamber Federation (WCF).