Kenya scooped the second position for the best innovations in the East Africa Community at the just concluded 23rd EAC MSMEs Trade Fair in Bujumbura, Burundi. Eco Green, an environmental and community-based organization that promotes bamboo growing for livelihood improvement and climate change adaptation and mitigation in Busia County emerged as the best Kenyan showcase for their bamboo furniture and décor pieces. Eden leather, a company that designs & produces quality handmade leather goods and accessories for both retail and corporate using locally sourced materials and craftsmanship came in second place while Iviani Farm, an enterprise that processes fresh fruits and leafy vegetables sourced from local farmers into dried crips, extending their shelf life and creating decent jobs for the local community was awarded the third position.
The United Republic of Tanzania took first position in the exhibition that attracted over 1000 exhibitors from the EAC partner states.
Eco Green chairperson Jacklyne Namadi receiving the company’s award for the best Kenyan showcase from Minister of Commerce, Transport, Industry, and Tourism in Burundi, Marie Chantal Nijimbere and MSEA Board Chairman Mr. James Mureu
Addressing the closing ceremony, the Minister of Commerce, Transport, Industry, and Tourism in Burundi, Marie Chantal Nijimbere, urged Partner States to implement measures supporting the inclusive and sustainable growth of MSMEs in the region. Nijimbere emphasized the need for a transparent regulatory framework, the piloting and scaling up of micro-credit and loans guarantee solutions, and ensuring universal access to ICTs and essential infrastructure to bridge information and technological gaps for MSMEs. Highlighting challenges faced by MSMEs, Nijimbere stressed the importance of addressing issues like low productivity, inadequate technology, high utility costs, regulatory hurdles, limited access to finance and markets, and weak managerial capacities.
Eden leather marketing executive receiving the company’s award for the second best Kenyan showcase from Minister of Commerce, Transport, Industry, and Tourism in Burundi, Marie Chantal Nijimbere and MSEA Board Chairman Mr. James Mureu
EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Customs, Trade, and Monetary Affairs, Ms. Annette Ssemuwemba, encouraged artisans at the trade fair to remain resilient and innovative in accessing the broader market offered by the seven EAC Partner States. She emphasized the need for growth, quality improvement, value addition, packaging, and effective marketing for MSMEs.
Iviani Farm marketing executive receiving the company’s award for the third best Kenyan showcase from Minister of Commerce, Transport, Industry, and Tourism in Burundi, Marie Chantal Nijimbere and MSEA Board Chairman Mr. James Mureu
The 23rd edition of the EAC MSMEs Trade Fair, themed “Connecting East African MSMEs to enhance Intra EAC Trade,” aimed to contribute to the region’s development goals by supporting the crucial MSME sector. Symposia held during the fair focused on increasing awareness and building the capacity of MSMEs on intra-regional trade opportunities and EAC trade provisions. Participants stressed the need for further development of Kiswahili as the region’s trading language and urged Partner States to expedite the implementation of a single currency to enhance intra-regional trade by eliminating currency conversion.
During the closing ceremony, it was officially announced that the Republic of South Sudan would host the 24th edition of the annual event.
Photo speak from the closing ceremony