CRDB, UNDP to empower MSMEs grab AfCFTA opportunities 

DAR ES SALAAM CRDB Bank Foundation and the United Nations Development Programmme (UNDP) have signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding to empower Micro, Small,and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) to unleash the potentials of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

CRDB Bank Foundation Managing Director Ms Tully Esther Mwambapa said in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday that the partnership will focus on key areas namely youth and women empowerment, sustainable finance adoption, startup growth and innovation ecosystem support, joint resource mobilisation for impactful programmes and specialised expertise exchange.

“The inaugural initiative under this agreement focuses on empowering women-led MSMEs to leverage the opportunities presented by the AfCFTA,” she said.

She said this strategic partnership signifies a united front to address critical challenges and contribute to the sustainable development goals in Tanzania.

The partnership, according to Ms Mwambapa opens the doors to transformative initiatives aimed at fostering gender equality, youth empowerment, inclusive economic growth and climate change resilience.

“Our country’s economic backbone lies in MSMEs. This sector employs over 5 million people, including underprivileged youth and women.

Recognising this, the CRDB Bank Foundation developed the Imbeju programme to empower youth and women through financial training and seed capital.

Partnering with UNDP signifies a crucial step towards transforming entrepreneurs’ lives in the New Year,”

With over 3 million SMEs contributing 27 per cent to Tanzania’s GDP, including over half that is women-owned, the MOU paves way for a comprehensive collaboration.

Ms Tully highlighted the Imbeju programme’s accomplishments, having trained over 100,000 individuals and disbursed 5bn/- in seed capital since its inception last year.

The partnership with UNDP aligns with the Foundation’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, with a focus on ending poverty (SDG 1), gender equality (SDG 5), and ensuring full and productive employment for all (SDG 8).

UNDP Resident Representative, Mr Shigeki Komatsubara emphasised the core values and commitments that UNDP represents, stating, “UNDP is dedicated to advancing sustainable development through wealth creation, building resilient communities and promoting good governance.

These principles form the foundation of our actions and today’s MoU reflects our collective commitment to translating these ideals into tangible outcomes,”

With an inspiring perspective, he underscored the significance of collaboration in pursuing common objectives, stating, “As we embark on this collaborative journey, let us not underestimate the power we hold to create a legacy of positive change.

Partnerships that extend beyond organisational boundaries and embody collective responsibility play a vital role in building a future that is equitable, sustainable, and prosperous for all,”

The CRDB Bank Foundation and UNDP partnership represents a significant stride towards unlocking the full potential of Tanzanian MSMEs, investing in women and youth to pave the way for sustainable economic growth and leveraging opportunities in the AfCFTA.

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