Kenya’s MSMEs Seeks Regional Trade Opportunities at Burundi Trade Fair.


Kenya’s small businesses are preparing to take part in the 23rd MSME Exhibition and Trade Fair, which is set to take place in Bujumbura, Burundi from December 5 to 15, in an effort to increase their visibility in the regional market. 


A minimum of 300 micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) from Kenya are expected to participate at the fair, demonstrating the nation’s dedication to exhibiting its products and generating prospects for export. It is anticipated that more than 1,500 local MSMEs will exhibit their latest offerings, creative services, and experiences overcoming financial obstacles.


Simon Chelugui, Cabinet Secretary for Cooperatives and MSMEs, emphasized the significance of this occasion when he appointed the committee in charge of screening the included SMEs.


The Cabinet Secretary encouraged “Kenyan entrepreneurs to leverage this opportunity to share knowledge, forge new business links, launch innovative products and services, conduct test marketing, and enhance the brand and corporate image of products and enterprises from the East African Community (EAC) region”. He further stressed that the committee should ensure representation from all 47 Kenyan counties. 


Every year, MSMEs from partner countries in East Africa have traditionally come together for the East African Community (EAC) Exhibition to broaden their market reach, exchange technology, and strengthen regional integration. A data-driven strategy has been used to choose the 300 MSEs who will take part, according to MSME Authority Chairman James Mureu.


MSME Chairman explained, “We have established robust key performance indicators (KPIs) such as the number of locally made products to be sold during the trade fair, the volume of value-added local products traded, the growth of MSE revenue through product and service sales, and the number of new leads generated from contacts established”.


With the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s recent inclusion in the EAC, the region’s GDP and market size have increased dramatically, increasing its competitiveness and ease of entry to the wider African Continental Free Trade Area. As of September 2022, intraregional commerce within the EAC was valued at $10.17 billion (Sh1.5 trillion), continuing its rising trajectory.


According to the MSME Authority, “the objective of the trade fair, however, resonates with the East African industrialization strategy target to increase intra-regional manufacturing of exports relative to total manufactured imports in the region to at least 25 percent by 2023”.


Chelugui encouraged MSMEs in Kenya to investigate trade and investment opportunities in sectors like education, healthcare, energy, finance, light manufacturing, and construction as well as agro-processing.


The Burundi fair, according to the CS, emphasizes the significance of local sourcing and strengthening value chain frameworks to ensure economic resilience as economies recover from the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. He said the “approach will help industries and organizations identify core competencies, areas for improvement, and business functions that support strategic activities”.


In the end, this program will make it easier for Kenyan companies to reach worldwide markets by raising MSME knowledge, promoting transparency in digital marketplaces and trade, and adhering to international quality standards.

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