Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) has reaffirmed its commitment to poverty alleviation and bridging inequality in the country.
This was during the launch of its Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) arm, uKAMilifu. It shall host all the Association’s social impact efforts and initiatives that bolster its mandate as the credible voice of industry.
Speaking during the launch, Principal Secretary for Youth Affairs, Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, Mr Charles Sunkuli expressed Government’s continued commitment to empower marginalized groups, through various initiatives.
“uKAMilifu is crucial towards complementing our efforts in alleviating poverty and empowering our society. Government initiatives have opened opportunities for marginalized groups across the country. For instance, through the Ajira Digital Program, various youth are being trained on how to gain crucial digital skills that will give them an upper hand in being productive and get employment opportunities. The Access to Government Opportunities (AGPO) programme has also enabled inclusivity and diversity in our procurement processes. We hope these will go a long way in empowering our community economically.”
KAM Chairman, Mr Mucai Kunyiha noted that in as much as the manufacturing sector aspires to create jobs and generate wealth in its endeavour to alleviate poverty and bridge inequality in the country, at times, the high cost of production and high taxes make it difficult for local industries to support their communities.
“When the cost of production goes up and the business environment becomes unbearable, industries are forced to shrink their operations or move to other countries, to stay afloat. This means job cuts and increased dependency on the few people still earning an income. Consequently, the poverty and inequality gaps widen. We remain cognizant of our responsibility to the communities that we serve. However, it is also critical that government develops policies that allow businesses to thrive.”
Mr Kunyiha reiterated the importance of a stable and predictable fiscal and regulatory environment, “This is particularly critical, as we head into the electioneering period. Our political ideologies need to be aligned to pertinent issues affecting the country, as opposed to political rhetoric that grind the entire country to a halt every election year. Industry, on the other hand, shall be better positioned to create jobs, produce high-quality goods for the market whilst generating revenue for the government to provide social amenities. More importantly, we shall engage the community to ensure our social impact befits all.”
KAM Director and uKAMilifu Patron, Ms MaryAnn Musangi noted that the initiative renews KAM’s connection with humanity, inventions and the future.
“uKAMilifu is a Swahili word that means Complete or Wholeness. uKAMilifu looks at amplifying and delivering the human impact initiatives that local industry has been part of in the last 62 years of KAM’s existence. To achieve our goal of shared prosperity and bridging inequality, KAM shall work with current industry stakeholders and forge new partnerships to impact a wide spectrum of human development areas. Additionally, the Association will bring together diverse economic actors in the country to advance a shared vision through stronger, enduring relationships,” Ms Musangi explained.
Senior Advisor, UN Strategic Partnerships and Coordinator SDG Partnership Platform Mr Arif Neky, highlighted the need for enhanced partnerships towards achieving development goals, saying, “Every year, we have a 4 trillion US Dollar gap in funding for the Sustainable Development Goals globally. This calls for the convergence of all partners to work together, and uKAMilifu provides such a key platform, especially because Africa provides the next frontier for shared prosperity.”
The Association shall drive uKAMilifu through 4 main pillars:
A Green World – An industry that seeks to restore and replenish the environment in its approach.
A Futuristic World – Creating a difference in the future of work and access to technology.
An Inclusive World – Achieving our economic goals by embracing diversity.
A Sustainable World – Bringing in more young people to share in industry’s vision through their innovations and appealing to their always evolving cultures.