Majority (98 per cent) of all the business entities (registered and non-registered) in the country. Most of these MSMEs operate in the agribusiness, manufacturing, trade, and services sectors and generate about a third (30 per cent) of job opportunities and contributes approximately 40 per cent to the GDP of Kenya annually. However, the sector remains highly informal as only 20 per cent of the 7.4 million MSMEs operate as licensed entities.
At the wake of COVID-19, majority of the Women led, and Youth led MSMEs operations were affected to a varying degree due to imposed measures to curb Covid, like lock downs, dusk-to-dawn curfew, ban of social gatherings, imposition of sanitation measures, and travel ban. These social and economic disruptions because of COVID-19 led to a shift in business dynamics and un-imaginable scale down of operations to the point of temporary closure or permanent closure for non-essential enterprises.
It is against this background that the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) with technical guidance and support from the Micro and Small Enterprise Authority (MSEA), Kenya to conduct a business survey on key aspects of Covid-19 impact across business operations among women and youth led Micro Small Enterprises (MSEs) in the manufacturing and service sectors in Kenya.
The eventual learning objective of the study was not only to assess the impact of Covid-19 among the MSMEs, but also to provide policy recommendations that will be useful in strengthening MSME supporting policies in Kenya. Learnings from this study are expected to eventually expand contributions of MSMEs to progress towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Speaking during the validation workshop of the impact assessment report, Mr. Frederich Soltau, Senior Sustainable Development Officer, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs stated that ‘The workshop today is aimed at exchanging ideas and lessons learnt on enhancing MSME resilience to build back better. This assessment report clarifies on the specific needs of the MSE sector particularly for women and youth-led businesses.’
Speaking on behalf of MSEA CEO Mr. Henry Rithaa, Director Strategy, Coordination and Planning Mr. Richard Ipero said, ‘Interventions towards the recovery of the MSME sector will require a sustained effort and implementation by all actors including the public and private sectors working in partnership to address the specific needs and situations of the enterprises, especially for women and youth-led businesses, who are most affected.’
The workshop brought together policymakers, MSME entrepreneurs and stakeholder groups in Kenya to identify and facilitate the exchange of experiences and lessons learnt on enhancing MSME resilience for building back better in Kenya ahead of the final publication of the report later this year.
We’d like to thank all our stakeholders for their valuable contribution to the report on the impact of Covid-19 on women and youth-led MSEs.