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GATES OPEN FOR THE 21st EAC MSMEs TRADE FAIR IN MWANZA, TANZANIA

The EAC MSMEs Trade Fair, formerly known as the Juakali Nguvu Kazi exhibition is held annually on a rotational basis among the 6 partner States; Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan. The exhibition brings together MSMEs from the various sectors of the represented States to source regional markets. It is the single largest event in the EAC calendar with the Patrons being the EAC Summit members (Heads of States).

This year, the Trade Fair was held in Mwanza, Tanzania and brought together over 1500 MSMEs. The official opening ceremony was held on 5th December at the Rock City grounds and was officiated by Prof. Kitila Mkumbo, Minister Trade and Industries of the United Republic of Tanzania. He was flanked by the 6th Secretary-General of the East African Community Hon. (DR.) Peter Mutuku Mathuki and Hon. David Osiany, the Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development.

During his speech, Prof Kitila Mkumbo said that this year’s exhibition came at a crucial time as the region recovers from the pandemic. He acknowledged the critical role that MSMEs will play in boosting regional trade and integration in the new normal. He noted that the trade fair provided an opportunity for MSEs to build new partnerships, establish new markets for their products across their borders, learn new ways of value addition and utilize these skills to increase their efficiency and competitiveness.

The East African Community has an estimated population of 177 million people as of (2019) with a cumulative GDP that stood at 5.9% in 2019. The real GDP growth from the supply side is driven primarily by growth in services, followed by industry. Intra-EAC trade, while low compared to regions outside Africa, is the highest among regional economic communities in Africa at 19.35% of exports.

‘We need a coordinated and collaborative approach to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic whose impact has been enormous. The Partner States have to find ways to complement each other rather than compete, and most importantly we need to consume what we produce; Buy East African, Build East Africa’ Prof. Kitila concluded.

Prof. Kiltila Mkumbo also visited the Kenya pavilion where he commended Kenya for facilitating 300 exhibitors to the trade fair. He was received by the head of the delegation, Hon. David Osiany, MSEA Board Chairman, Mr James Mureu and the DG Mr Henry Rithaa.