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Kenya Day Celebrations at the 22nd EAC MSMEs Trade Fair

The East African Community MSMEs Trade Fair includes a day dedicated to showcasing the best innovations and culture of each partner state. Kenya Day celebrations took place on December 14th 2022 and featured Kenyan innovations and culture.

The day began with the Kenyan and East African Community (EAC) anthems being played. This was followed by a symposium discussion on preparing micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The symposium was presented by the MSEA’s Head of Capacity Building Mr. Patrick Kamenyi.

During the presentation, Mr. Kamenyi emphasized the significant opportunities that the AfCFTA has created for African businesses. The AfCFTA is a continent-wide market that includes 55 countries with a combined population of 1.3 billion people and a GDP of $3.4 trillion. The first phase of the AfCFTA, which went into effect in January 2021, aims to gradually eliminate tariffs on 90% of goods and reduce barriers to trade in services. Mr. Kamenyi discussed the potential benefits of the AfCFTA for MSMEs and how they can prepare to take advantage of the seamless and integrated market across Africa, enabling them to more easily access new markets and expand their operations.

MSEA’s Head of Capacity Building Mr. Patrick Kamenyi presenting the Kenya Day symposium topic on preparing MSMEs to take up opportunities under Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

Chief Guest for the day Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Co-operatives and MSMEs Development Hon. Simon Chelugui arrived at the Kololo grounds shortly after accompanied by Principal Secretaries State Department for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs)Development Ms. Susan Mang’eni and State Department for East African Community Hon. Abdi Dubat, Rt Hon. First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Community Affairs H.E Rebecca A. Kadaga Minister of State for Trade, Industries and Co-operatives in Uganda Hon. Harriet Ntabazi and Kenya’s High Commissioner to the Republic of Uganda H.E. Maj. Gen. (Rtd) George Aggrey Owino. They were warmly received by MSEA Board Chairman Mr. James Mureu and CEO Mr. Henry Rithaa at the Kenya pavilion. They also had a chance to visit the MSEA stand and MSE booths where they interacted with Kenyan innovators, sampled a variety of products on offer and shared information on Government interventions available for the sector such as the recently launched Hustler Fund.

Chief Guest for the day Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Co-operatives and MSMEs Development Hon. Simon Chelugui accompanied by Principal Secretaries State Department for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs)Development Ms. Susan Mang’eni and State Department for East African Community Hon. Abdi Dubat, Rt Hon. First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Community Affairs H.E Rebecca A. Kadaga Minister of State for Trade, Industries and Co-operatives in Uganda Hon. Harriet Ntabazi and Kenya’s High Commissioner to the Republic of Uganda H.E. Maj. Gen. (Rtd) George Aggrey Owino, received by MSEA Board Chairman Mr. James Mureu and CEO Mr. Henry Rithaa at the Kenya pavilion and MSEA stand

The official ceremony came thereafter where MSEs demonstrated their raw talent through song, dance, and a fashion show, confirming Kenya’s status as a country with a rich cultural legacy.

Kenyan dignitaries and MSEs engaging in song and dance at during the Kenya day celebrations.

Kenya’s National Organizing Committee led the Chairman, MSEA CEO Mr. Henry Rithaa and Secretary Director Business Development Marketing and Trade Ms. Caroline Kioko during the award ceremony

Speaking during the ceremony, MSEA CEO Henry Rithaa said, ”By supporting this product and service exhibition, we are living the true vision of the Kenya Kwanza Government to promote the economy from the bottom up and also reinforce regional integration.’’ We are marketing all the products available from the Kenyan MSEs at the trade fair on the MSEA’s marketing portal to realize the technology enabled economy and utilize the 1.3 Billion Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) market, he added.

MSEA Board Chairman Mr. James Mureu while addressing the attendees appreciated the expansion of the East African Community with the recent entry of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC Congo) which has opened up the market to a population of 300Million people. “Kenya and East Africa are endowed with diverse resources including human capital, raw materials, and renewable energy sources, among others, that have the potential to transform the region towards shared prosperity.’’ he noted.

MSEA Board Chairman Mr. James Mureu and MSEA CEO Henry Rithaa addressing the attendees during Kenya day celebrations at the 22nd EAC MSMEs Trade Fair.

Kenya’s High Commissioner to the Republic of Uganda H.E. Maj. Gen. (Rtd) George Aggrey Owino on his part said that Kenya must prioritize access to markets as a critical pre-requisite for encouraging entrepreneurship, enterprise development, long-term economic growth, job creation, and productive investment.

Principal Secretary State Department for East African Community Hon. Abdi Dubat said that he was optimistic that this year’s trade fair will serve to further unlock the critical role of micro, small, and medium-sized businesses in boosting economic growth, providing decent jobs, and assisting millions of people in transcending poverty, improving their livelihoods and enhancing EAC integration.

Kenya’s High Commissioner to the Republic of Uganda H.E. Maj. Gen. (Rtd) George Aggrey Owino and Principal Secretary State Department for East African Community Affairs Hon. Abdi Dubat making their addresses during Kenya Day celebrations

Minister of State for Trade, Industries and Co-operatives in Uganda Hon. Harriet Ntabazi on her part said that statistics show that EAC members are trading more with countries outside the bloc than partner states, becoming importers of products and services that ideally should be sourced among us. We should be one people. Trading more with each other than any other regional economy.

Chairman, Senate committee on Trade Hon. Kanar Seki said that Kenya must strengthen and sustain the global competitiveness and sustainability of MSMEs focusing on strategic measures of competitiveness, product differentiation, exacting standards and economies of scale which are of overriding importance in the increasingly complex global marketplace.

Minister of State for Trade, Industries and Co-operatives in Uganda Hon. Harriet Ntabazi and Chairman, Senate committee on trade Hon. Kanar Seki making their remarks during the Kenya day celebrations,

On his part, Strathmore Business School & program manager for Kenya SBDC Dr. George Njenga said that the institution is leveraging this platform to present high-value goods and services into this market to gauge the reception of their offerings and seek to present more in other jurisdictions within the East African Community owing to closer proximity, similar tastes and preferences, and cultures.

Addressing the audience, Governor of Uasin Gishu County Hon. Jonathan Bii said that the expansion of the East African Community is undoubtedly a clear indication that there is a growing need for fostering intra-African trade and enabling each country to address the production and supply challenges that have for a long time hindered the development of the export sector.

Governor Uasin Gishu County Hon. Jonathan Bii and Strathmore Business School & program manager for Kenya SBDC Dr. George Njenga making their address.

Addressing the MSEs, Chief Guest Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Co-operatives and MSME Development Hon. Simon Chelugui said, “We must support our MSMEs to diversify into higher-valued processed products for exports. This is a necessary and urgent step for EAC partner states to move from exporting traditional raw materials.’’ He noted that Kenya’s participation in the EAC MSMEs Trade Fair is not only in line with the theme “Buy East African to Build East Africa for Resilience and Sustainable Development,” but also supports the actualization of the agenda on transforming the MSMEs economy by offering high-value locally manufactured products both to the domestic and regional markets.

Chief Guest Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Co-operatives and MSME Development Hon. Simon Chelugui making his key note address during the Kenya day celebrations.

Wrapping up the day in style, was a dinner held in honour of Kenyan MSEs exhibiting at the 22nd EAC MSMEs Trade Fair. The Kenya day networking gala dinner hosted the Kenyan delegation, dignitaries from partner nations, and the EAC Secretariat and gave a one-of-a-kind chance for MSEs to unwind, network, and exchange their experiences with sector experts.

Speaking during the dinner, Principal Secretary State Department for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Development Ms Susan Mangeni said that the Ministry is keen to address the production and supply challenges that have for a long time hindered MSMEs from the export market.

Principal Secretary State Department for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Development Ms Susan Mangeni addressing the Kenya delegation during the dinner. 

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