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The State Department of Trade Principal Secretary Amb. Johson Weru met with MSEA Board of Directors and Management during a two day retreat held in Nanyuki from 23rd to 24th May 2022.The meeting was attended by MSEA Board Chairman Mr. James Mureu, Board members Mr. Yuda Imunya, Mr. Billy Baltazar, Mr. Isaac Mbingi, Mr. Anthony Kwache, Mr. Nicholas Gakiha, Mr. Richard Gakunya, Ms. Rose Mwongera, Eng. Charles Kalomba, Dr. Bruno Linyiru, Mr. Humphrey Njoroge, Mr. James Sitienei, Mr. Christopher Ombega, Mr. Stanley Mwangi, Mr.Stephen Kimani, MSEA director General/CEO Mr. Henry Rithaa, MSEA senior management staff.

The objective of the meeting was to evaluate the implementation of MSEA 2020- 2024 Strategic Plan in the current financial year 2021/22, Work Plan for the financial Year 2021/22, work plan for the financial year 2022/23; Other presentations done during the meeting included MSE policy, the implementation matrix, MSEA workplan 2022- 2023 and another on management of state corporations.

The MSEA CEO Henry Rithaa stated that the retreat  provides an opportunity to review what the Authority had done in the implementation of the 2020-24 Strategic Plan and general performance of the Authority for the almost ten (10) years that it has been in operation. He informed members that the 2020-24 Strategic Plan is aligned to National Priorities and National Policies and thanked the PS for his continued support to the Authority

Some of notable initiatives that have been of great assistance to the growth of MSEs include the infrastructural support that has seen 170 CIDCS completed in several counties. The completion has provided decent work spaces for operating businesses. The CEO noted that the Cold storages in Kisii County, Nyandarua and Meru are at advanced stages towards completion and will help manage post-harvest losses experienced in the counties. Other notable interventions pursued by the Authority include market access and linkages for MSEs. In 2021, the Authority exposed over 300 MSEs to the regional market during the EAC MSME trade fair, held in Mwanza Tanzania. In terms of creating employment opportunities for the youth, The KYEOP project has been a success with over 60,000 youth benefiting from the grant, currently application for cycle 8 is ongoing. In a bid to formalize MSEs across the country, The Registrar of MSEs is carrying out sensitisations in different counties to encourage individual and group registrations.

Present during the Retreat, MSEA Chairman Mr. James Mureu said the strategic plan 2020- 0224 is a confirmation that the Authority is ready to play a key role in the determination of MSEs growth in the Country. He said the Authority is committed to strengthening existing collaborations with development partners such as Stanbic Foundation and Stanbic Bank Kenya, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs (UNDESA), International Labour Organization (ILO) as well as pursuing new partnerships.

The Chief Guest, PS State Department of Trade, Amb. Johnson Weru said the Authority’s focus is on improving the lives of normal Kenyan more so the Micro Small Enterprises. The rate of unemployed youth in the country will be solved by addressing the culture of entrepreneurship as a way of life.

In supporting market access, the PS recommended expansion of the MSEs Framework to develop cottage industries for creating international markets. The products must comply with the requirements on quality standards.

He challenged the Authority to shift from agrarian to semi-industrial model by using SME framework to develop industries for all markets including external markets. He recommended a mapping of key products whose standards will be streamlined to meet the international requirements and promote accessibility in targeted markets regionally and internationally. This process will be possible through interagency connections and collaborations.

Amb. Weru stated that the Authority should utilise experts skills available in the Ministry’s and SAGAs to profile specific products that are imported, check opportunities for local production as a way of promoting buy Kenya build Kenya policy. A starting point is the development of specialized prototypes for 10 products and collaborate with agencies such as NG-CDF to develop laboratories in each Constituency.

The PS committed to push for recognition of MSE Certificates. He urged the Authority to streamline the registration of MSEs to ensure the process in authentic and credible; Guard the process from counterfeits.