Kenyan SMEs tap global markets in Algeria

Five Kenyan SMEs are exhibiting at the Arab International SMEs conference and expo (SMEX ALGERIA) scheduled for 12th to 14th November 2022 in Algiers, Algeria.

This follows an invitation from the Arab Union for Industrial Exports Development send to Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency (KEPROBA) inviting SMEs from Kenya to be sponsored to participate in the SME Expo. KEPROBA thus facilitated the sponsorship, mobilized and coordinated SMEs in select sectors to represent Kenya at the Expo.

The event is organized by the Arab Union for Industrial Exports Development (AUIED) and the Algerian Fairs and Exportation Company (SAFEX) with the aim of building a platform of “display, trade, exchange and cooperation” for SMEs home and abroad to increase understanding, strengthen cooperation, expand exchanges, and strike common development for Arab’s SMEs and their foreign counterparts.

The five who were selected and facilitated include Mathara Holdings which exports coffee, Ohana Family Wear which produces modest swimming wear ideas for Islamic countries, Miyonga Fresh Greens which exports fresh and dried fruits, herbs and vegetables;  Stawi Foods and Fruits which specializes in the milling of cereals and dry fruits to produce nutritious pre-cooked and fortified flours; as well as Melvin Marsh International that is renown for tea exports.

The criteria used to select the companies to participate include the suitability of a company’s products or services to the target markets; the company’s potential for business in the market as well as consistency of the applicant company’s goals and objectives with the stated scope of the event.

KEPROBA, while flagging off the SMEs to the West African Market, also briefed the exhibitors on how they can represent Kenya optimally and use the opportunity to expand their market access and open more opportunities for more exports to West Africa.

“This Expo will indeed offer you a chance to increase your market share in West Africa, and for us, it is a chance for Kenya to increase its brand awareness and recognition. You have a chance to leverage this Expo to form new partnerships, networks and enhance your market access in the region,” said Dr Wilfred Marube, CEO of KEPROBA during the Exhibitor briefing session.

Kenya enjoys good bilateral relations with Algeria. The country’s exports to Algeria have been below USD 1 billion from 2017 to 2021.

“This presents to us an opportunity to explore the Algerian market and its untapped potential,” added Dr Marube.

The Arab International SMEs Conference & Expo (SMEX Algeria) is expected to bring together approximately 60, 000 business owners and link potential investors and buyers in one place hence creating business-to-business interactions and transactions besides creating exposure for upcoming SMEs

Macro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) contribute approximately 40% of Kenya’s GDP even though the majority of them fall in the informal sector. Of the 7.41 million MSMEs in Kenya, only 1.56 million are licenced whereas 5.85 million are unlicensed.

The high number of unlicenced SMEs is indicative of the conducive environment that Kenya creates for upcoming businesses with the aim of making them productive and profitable at a local, regional and international level. SMEs specific strategies in Kenya will unlock small businesses in the short and medium term.

KEPROBA supports SMEs through training on export readiness, market access and exposure to international markets.

The Agency is currently developing an Exporters’ Directory that will list all exporters in Kenya, their contacts, key products, key export markets and all, for ease of access by buyers.

International trade fairs such as the Arab International SMEs Conference & Expo (SMEX Algeria) offer upcoming SMEs in Kenya and Africa an opportunity to benchmark their products against other SMEs.

The SMEX Algeria is tailored to specifically benefit small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by serving as a networking and product presentation platform while also opening and expanding new market frontiers in today’s competitive world.


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