File picture: Philimon Bulawayo

NAIROBI  - Nairobi's kiosk owners will now be able to place and pay orders to their wholesalers through the use of Mastercard's Kionect digital system.

Kionect also enables the small business owners to access micro-loans to stock inventory and grow their businesses, a statement released on behalf of Mastercard said.

"Kionect is currently being piloted with over 1,000 micro-businesses in three of Nairobi's informal settlements - Kibera, Kawangware and Kariobangi - in partnership with Kaskazi, a for-profit wholesaler and distributor," the statement read.

This system provides a digital log of transaction data that qualifies these micro-retailers for loans to stock inventory from Musoni, a regional micro-finance provider.

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Just like most financial institutions - the sooner the micro-retailer pays the loan in time, the better the chance of qualifying for a larger loan to be paid over a long period of time.

Mastercard has noticed that micro-merchants are the lifeblood of their communities.

The vice-president of Mastercard Labs: Financial Inclusion in Nairobi, Michael Elliott says, "This Mastercard technology opens up a new avenue for micro-retailers to grow their businesses, increase consumer demand and ultimately contribute to economic development in Africa".

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Chief Innovation Officer for Musoni, Juliet Ongwae says access to basic financial services for kiosk owners, holds the potential to expand their businesses and contribute to the vibrancy of their communities.

Head of products & innovations at Diamond Trust Bank, Farouk Khimji alluded that If wholesalers can provide financial help to their merchants, it can help bring income stability, grow their businesses, create new employment opportunities and contribute to economic growth for Africa.