Kenya day celebrations at the 23rd East African Community Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) Trade Fair were a vibrant display of national pride.
The day was officiated by the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Co-operatives and MSMEs Development Hon. Simon Kiprono Chelugui, EGH and his Burundi counterpart Minister of Commerce, Transport, Industry, and Tourism in Burundi, Marie Chantal Nijimbere.
Addressing the MSMEs and delegates present, the CS noted that statistics show EAC members are trading more with countries outside the bloc than partner states, becoming importers of products and services that ideally should be sourced in the region. He called on the partner states to consider integrating language, money and networks to better link regional economies towards inclusive growth and sustainable development.
Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Co-operatives and MSMEs Development Hon. Simon Kiprono Chelugui, EGH, his Burundi counterpart Minister of Commerce, Transport, Industry, and Tourism in Burundi, Marie Chantal Nijimbere, Deputy Secretary General East African Community Ms Annette Ssemuwemba, Principal Secretary State Department for MSMEs Development Ms. Susan Mang’eni and Ambassador of Kenya to Burundi Amb. Daniel Wambura making their remarks during the celebrations
On her part, the Principal Secretary State Department for MSMEs Development Ms. Susan Mang’eni noted that to enhance regional industrial development, partner states need to invest in key priority sectors, skills development, technological advancement and innovation.
Present during the same celebrations, the Ambassador of Kenya to Burundi, Amb. Daniel Wambura CBS, emphasized the exposure opportunities and partnerships built during the trade fair, laying the foundation for stronger business ties within the EAC, especially between Kenya and Burundi.
On his part, MSEA Director General, Mr. Henry Rithaa, underlined the need for regional economies to further connect, pointing to the importance of enacting the new trading accord under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This pact, linking 55 countries with a combined GDP of $3.4 trillion and 1.3 billion people, holds immense potential for inclusive growth and sustainable development.
MSEA Board Chairman Mr. James Mureu, MSEA Director General Mr. Henry Rithaa and Project Manager Small Business Development Centers Mr. Elisha Bwatuti making their remarks
Project Manager of Small Business Development Centers, Mr. Elisha Bwatuti, stressed the collaborative efforts required from various sectors, including the public and private sectors, youth, learning institutions, media, and development partners to promote the scaling-up of MSMEs through innovative approaches and knowledge sharing.
Speaking at the same event, MSEA Board Chairman highlighted the need for improving agricultural productivity, value addition, and facilitating the movement of agricultural goods to enhance food security in the region. He emphasized the promotion of regional peace, security, and good governance as necessary components for stimulating economic development.
Governors from Kericho and Uasin Gishu Counties, Hon. Dr. Eric Mutai and Hon. Jonathan Bii, expressed optimism that the trade fair would further unlock the critical role of MSMEs in boosting economic growth, providing jobs, and assisting millions in transcending poverty, thereby enhancing EAC integration.
Governors Jonathan Bii and Dr. Eric Mutai from Uasin Gishu and Kericho Counties respectively giving their addresses during the ceremony
Deputy Secretary General of the East African Community, Ms. Annette Ssemuwemba, emphasized the importance of creating awareness about locally manufactured products and encouraged consumers to #BuyEastAfricanBuildEastAfrica.
The event was also marked by an elaborate showcase of Kenyan culture and Kenyan brands by Kenyan MSEs at the fair.
The day concluded with a dinner hosted by Cabinet Secretary Simon Kiprono Chelugui, EGH, in honor of the Kenyan MSEs participating in the 23rd EAC MSMEs Trade Fair. Public and private sector players united in their call for strengthened regional integration, recognizing its pivotal role in supporting MSMEs and fostering economic prosperity.
Scenes from the Kenya day dinner
Every partner state is allocated a day during the trade fair where they get to showcase their culture and best products.