Stakeholders partner to boost manufacturing SMEs in East Africa

Written By: Claire Wanja
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From L - R GIZ Project Head, Mr. Heine Eckhard, Head of KAM consulting Ms. Joyce Njogu and Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives - Enterprise Development Director, Ms. Jane Aranga
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The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) have launched a project seeking to promote manufacturing SMEs in East Africa by scaling up their business operations.

The project, dubbed Creating Perspectives: Business for Development, seeks to provide business know-how and technical expertise through individual coaching, training and tailor-made partnerships with German industries.

Speaking during the forum Thursday, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives – Enterprise Development Director, Ms. Jane Aranga noted that the government is keen on providing an enabling business environment where SMEs can flourish.

“We acknowledge that SMEs are faced with a myriad of challenges including rigid legal and regulatory framework, access to credit and business information among others. To provide an enabling business environment for SMEs, the government is reviewing policies to protect SMEs from unhealthy competition and courage start ups and growth of SMEs, as key drivers of the Big 4 Agenda,” added Ms. Aranga.

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KAM SME Caucus Chair, Mr. Ivan Ochieng noted that SMEs are the backbone of a thriving economy and play a prominent role in job creation.

“The manufacturing sector currently accounts for 8.37% of the country’s GDP. Kenya can attain the Big 4 Agenda on Manufacturing, that seeks to grow the manufacturing sector to 15% by 2022, by creating forward and backward linkages and developing a subcontracting framework to grow and expand small firms.

This is can only be made possible through a commitment to actualizing factors and policies that make it possible for small industries to thrive. This project hence ushers in the next steps towards this,” added Mr. Ochieng.

Speaking during the event, GIZ Project Head, Mr. Heine Eckhard noted that the project enables German and East African companies meet and create long lasting business relationships.

“The East African region is one of the fastest growing regions in the world, at about 6%. Approximately 90 per cent of all registered enterprises in East Africa are SMEs, yet they are faced with constraints that limit their growth potential. This project hence aims to assist manufacturing SMEs expand by providing them with business and technical know-how and capacity development,” added Mr. Eckhard.

The pilot phase targets 60 companies in the EAC region, who have been active for a minimum of 3 years and have an annual turnover of USD 50,000 to USD 5 million, with at least 10 employees.

Applications will be received for a period of 3 weeks, starting Monday, 13th August 2018 from all the East African countries. Application link: http://kglserver.net/giz/.

The project is a joint initiative between German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Federation of German Industries (BDI) in partnership with the East African Business Council (EABC) and its member institutions.

KAM has also partnered with the GIZ in running the Technical and Vocation, Education and Training (TVET) and Good Governance Programs.

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