How social protection under Equity Bank’s Africa Recovery and Resilience Plan is improving people’s lives

The Equity Group Africa Recovery and Resilience plan is a bold initiative that was launched by the bank and aims to rebuild our continent. The bank intends to do this by catalyzing a resource-driven transformation of Africa by improving agriculture and extractive value chains.

To achieve this, the bank invested Ksh. 16 billion in the plan which will be implemented through six strategic pillars, namely: food and agriculture, trade and investment, MSMEs, technology, manufacturing and logistics and social transformation and environmental.

Social protection, which falls under the sixth pillar, can be described as a set of policies and programs designed to reduce and prevent poverty and vulnerability throughout the life cycle. It essentially looks at how governments and companies like Equity Group put in place measures to break the vicious cycle of poverty in the areas where they operate. The main objective is to provide social assistance and capacity building to poor, vulnerable and marginalized populations. With the aim of shifting recipients from systemic dependency on assisted living to self-reliance.

Equity Bank, through its foundation, has been able to achieve this by providing inclusive financial services to thousands of marginalized and vulnerable households. Through this, the foundation was able to achieve financial inclusion in a society that otherwise would not have been banked.

In addition to having bank accounts, beneficiaries undergo training in financial literacy. The training generally imparts good management habits for earning, spending, saving, borrowing, and investing. At the end of it, participants are then able to work towards their financial goals. They are also able to access finance for their businesses, which goes a long way in transforming the lives of vulnerable people in society. So far, more than 4 million households have been reached by the program with Ksh. 100.7 billion disbursed.

A good example is Abdi Rahman, an Ethiopian refugee who not only runs two stores in Kakuma, but is also an Equity agent. In addition to having an account, Abdi completed financial literacy training which enabled him to start saving and eventually borrowing. This is what allowed him to expand his business to what it is today. Being an Equity agent under the bamba chakula program has allowed him to earn extra money, which will go a long way in ensuring his financial stability.

Eregae Ajikon is a resident of Napatet in Turkana County. It is a beneficiary of the national government’s Hunger Safety Net scheme, with funds disbursed through Equity Bank. She also benefits from training in financial literacy, which taught her how to save, invest and access credit. This enabled her to start a business which enabled her to pay school fees as well as food for her 8 children.

In life, there are times when you just need a push to succeed and take it to the next level. This is what Equity Group has done through their foundation and we can expect many more stories of transformation through financial inclusion and training as they roll out the Africa Recovery and Resilience Plan . Stay tuned for more as we explore other pillars of the plan.

Joel C. Hicks