Summit to promote competitiveness of locally made products
Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), in partnership with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives and United Nations Industrial Organization (UNIDO) today launched the 2nd Kenya Manufacturing Summit and Expo that is set to run till 25th November.
Under the theme ‘Driving Local Competitiveness to Make Kenya a Manufacturing Hub for Africa‘, the Summit and Expo aims to promote business partnerships and identify binding constraints impeding the sector’s growth.
Speaking during the session, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperative CS, Mr. Adan Mohamed pointed out that the aim of the government to grow Kenya’s manufacturing base is strategic and can only be implemented through collaboration and knowledge transfer from industry.
“75% of global trade is in manufacturing. That is the critical role that manufacturing plays in a country. The government is therefore keen on improving the business environment for competitiveness. Vision 2030 seeks the indulgence of industry as the key actor for the development of the country’s economy. This summit & expo therefore outlines the capacity of Kenya’s manufacturing sector and points to critical areas of focus such as value addition.” added Mr. Mohamed.
The annual event also seeks to improve the global competitiveness of locally manufactured products which will enhance Kenya’s industrial statistics and increase employment opportunities.
KAM Chairlady. Ms. Flora Mutahi noted that the manufacturing sector is key to Kenya’s economic growth due to its potential to grow productive jobs and increase the purchasing power of consumers.
“Every five years our economy takes a hit as everyone adopts a wait-and-see attitude and consequently, returning to business afterward is usually made much harder. This trend is not going to be sustainable if we are to achieve our Vision 2030. Our civic engagement needs to be a continued, progressive process that ends at the ballot, other than an event that commands a standstill once every five years. But because it is not this way, we are all left to start from a disadvantaged position once the election is over.
Historically and save for General Election of 2002, General Elections in Kenya are associated with economic down turn. For instance economic growth rate declined from 7.0% in 2007 to 1.6% in 2008 because of the effects of post-election violence.
The manufacturing sector share of GDP dropped to 9.2%, and this was brought on by issues such as the prolonged drought, double taxation, delayed payments, multiple levies and fees and recently the plastic bag ban, among others, which have all affected the overall competitiveness of the sector in the region. The 2nd Summit and Expo is therefore an intervention to boost local industries productivity in order to jolt the economy,” added Ms. Mutahi.
The summit features sessions on Buy Kenya Build Kenya aimed at encouraging consumption of locally produced goods and services, how to secure intellectual property rights for local products in Kenya and EAC Region, enhancing skills-based competencies to meet industry needs and creating financial and market linkages for SMEs.
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Country Director, Mr. Emmanuel Kalenzi noted that the summit is an important step in promoting industrialization in Africa through enhanced quality production and manufacturing.
“There is need to address challenges affecting industrial growth in Kenya and Africa in order to set these economies on a path to inclusive and sustainable industrial development, and economic sustainability,” added Mr. Emmanuel Kalenzi.
The event, that has no entry fee, will provide an avenue for Kenyans to view, sample and buy locally manufactured products that have achieved global standards.
The event will culminate with a sale on all exhibited products.