Coca-Cola marks Kenya @50 with Sh100m sponsorship deal

Cabinet Secretary for Culture and Arts Hassan Wario (left) and his Devolution and Planning colleague Anne Waiguru (centre) together with Coca-Cola General Manager for East Africa Peter Njonjo. [Photo: Beverlyne Musili/Standard]

By Rawlings Otieno

Nairobi, Kenya: Women and youth are set to benefit from Sh102 million in sponsorship from the Coca-Cola Beverage Company.

The money will be used to buy assets, which the deserving women and youths across the country will use in establishing small business to help alleviate poverty and create jobs.

Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru said the investment will be used to support poverty alleviation through the creation of entrepreneurial opportunities in line with the objectives of the Uwezo Fund, a flagship project of the Kenya Vision 2030 Second Medium Term Plan for women and youth empowerment.

“The Ministry of Devolution and Planning will identify deserving women and youth across the country while Coca-Cola will provide start-up capital and sales equipment such as ice boxes to enable them set up their businesses,” said Ms Waiguru.

The donation is part of the Kenya @ 50 celebrations which Coca-Cola will commemorate with the people of Kenya.

Waiguru made the remarks at a joint press conference at the Treasury Building in Nairobi yesterday with her counterpart Sports, Culture and Arts Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario.

Initially, the beneficiaries will sell Coca-Cola beverages before venturing out to other basic commodities.

In addition, Coca-Cola will provide capacity building, specifically financial services training and mentorship support.

The beneficiaries will receive business skills training as well as networks with mentors to facilitate a smooth transition into gainful, sustainable employment.

Waiguru said with the high unemployment rate among women and youth, the Government was open to broad-based partnerships with the private sector and development organisations to turn around the situation. 

“We are open to working innovatively with partners to provide incremental value to government efforts toward women and youth economic empowerment. We will leverage new funds or similarly thought out programmes that have a clear strategic alignment. Coca-Cola’s commitment is clearly in furtherance of our strategic vision and is complimentary,” she said.

Unemployment rate

It is estimated that unemployment in Kenya today stands at approximately 40 per cent of the population, with 70 per cent of those unemployed between the ages of 15 and 35.

Coca-Cola’s General Manager for East Africa, Peter Njonjo, said the company already has a platform through which, it has been enabling the economic empowerment of women and will ride on the same to realise the 13,000 jobs.

The platform – dubbed 5 by 20 – seeks to enable the empowerment of five million women around the world by the year 2020.

“We believe in doing business in a way that benefits the long term interests of the different facets of the communities in which we operate while at the same time growing the economic value of our local businesses,” said Njonjo.