KAM, E-Commerce players partner to promote Manufacturing SME market linkages

Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) has partnered with e-commerce players in the country to boost the access of manufacturing SMEs to local and international markets through e-commerce.

E-commerce uptake in Kenya still remains low despite its immense benefits. The partnership, therefore, seeks to promote the uptake of e-commerce by SMEs to enable them to gain access to global markets and new international customers and reinventing their business models to align with changing technologies.

Speaking at the inaugural event, KAM Board Member and SME Hub Chair, Ms Ciiru Waithaka noted that the increased attention on SME growth, both at a national and global scale, points to a reckoning that the future of business hinges on their success.

“The unique and dynamic nature of SMEs in the manufacturing sector calls for an adaptive approach in developing policies and interventions that most importantly centres their needs and proposed solutions in the process. Our partnership will enable us to develop locally rooted, user-driven e-commerce solutions for manufacturing SMEs to drive their global competitiveness. It is through partnerships such as these that we can grow small and medium industries to be substantial players in our country’s vision for sustainable economic growth,” she added.

Jumia Kenya Managing Director, Mr Sam Chappatte noted that despite good internet connectivity, Kenya’s e-commerce uptake still remains low. “Our mission is to leverage technology to grow markets and build marketplaces that solve everyday problems. E-commerce is a fast-growing, low-cost sales channel. We are excited to partner with KAM to support SME growth,” he added.

On the other hand, Amari Consulting Co-founder, Ms Abigail Bundi noted that the e-commerce space has radically changed the way of doing business globally.

“In Kenya, e-commerce is estimated to be worth more than Kshs 70- 120 billion in the short term and Kshs 400 billion in the long-term, thus presenting lucrative business opportunities. Furthermore, e-commerce will be a catalyst to the achievement of the Big Four Agenda, in which manufacturing is a key pillar. E-Commerce will enable SMEs lower costs, stay competitive and at the same time, go global by harnessing the power of the Internet and scale,” she added.

Also present at the forum, DHL Express Kenya Country Manager, Mr Andrew Mutuma noted that, “International e-commerce is growing at a remarkable pace, and we want our Kenyan businesses to grab their share of the market – that means adding value to their e-commerce proposition. We’re convinced that cross-border e-commerce has a huge upside that many merchants – B2C and B2B – have not yet tapped. As the international express provider of choice for e-commerce customers, our aim is to support web sellers as they go global.”

The E-commerce players include Amari Consulting, Jumia Kenya and DHL Express, Grofin Kenya and Amitruck.

KAM recently launched a Manufacturing SME Hub geared towards uplifting micro, small and medium businesses in value addition towards achieving the 15% targeted growth of the sector by 2022.

The Hub advocates for a conducive business environment for SMEs, taking into account their specialized needs and aims to work with partners such as Amari and DHL to develop frameworks that will nurture and encourage their growth. This is coupled with the resources to offer business rescue advice and business diagnostics.

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