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NAIROBI, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group focusing on the private sector in developing countries, and the AECF (Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund), an Africa-based development organization, on Wednesday launched the second round of a global competition to increase economic integration and self-reliance among refugees in Kenya.

The competition for the private sector and social enterprise projects will support investment, development, and job creation in Kenya's Kakuma refugee camp and hosting area.

"Through this new competition, we hope to attract more businesses, especially those involved in underrepresented sectors like small manufacturing, aquaculture, retail services, and construction," CEO Victoria Sabula of the AECF said in a joint statement issued in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.

The competition, which runs until Jan. 31, 2022, is open to private sector businesses or social enterprises operating in any sector.

Winners will be chosen based on their bids' potential to raise incomes, provide goods and services, create jobs, and improve living standards in both the Kakuma refugee camp and the adjacent host community, home to more than 240,000 people, including 220,000 refugees.

According to IFC, winning entrants will be awarded technical support and performance-based grants of between 100,000 U.S. dollars and 750,000 U.S. dollars.

The competition is part of the Kakuma Kalobeyei Challenge Fund (KKCF), a joint initiative of IFC and the AECF, whose aim is to increase economic integration and self-reliance among displaced populations and their host communities.

Jumoke Jagun-Dokunmu, IFC regional director for Eastern Africa, said the IFC is committed to uplifting the lives of refugees and those living in host communities by championing private sector solutions.

The competition is being implemented with support from Kenya's Turkana County Government and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). It follows the first round of the competition in December 2020 that awarded more than 5 million dollars in grant funding to 13 social and private sector applicants in sectors including renewable energy, financial services, health care, and childcare.

The KKCF initiative is a 25-million-dollar, five-year program designed to support private sector investment and unlock the economic potential of refugees and those living in the surrounding host communities in Kenya's Turkana County. - Xinhua

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