Thursday, 13th April 2023, Nairobi. Manufacturers have today called on the government to strengthen the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) ecosystem in Kenya. This was during the first ever Manufacturing SMEs Convention, hosted by Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM).
Speaking during the forum, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Cooperatives and Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Hon. Simon Chelugui, observed that whereas Kenya has developed programs and initiatives to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) over the years, their potential is yet to be fully untapped.
“We have approximately 7.5 million MSMEs in Kenya, contributing approximately 30 percent to the GDP. 85% of MSMEs are in the informal economy. With the right policies and regulations as well as an enabling environment, they shall be better positioned to grow into large companies. As Government, we continue to prioritize their development, through initiatives such as the Hustlers Fund, as they are critical to realizing the Bottom-Up Economic Plan. To ease service delivery for enterprises, we have established incubation centers in 35 counties.”
Industry PS, Juma Mukhwana observed that the missing link between agriculture and industry has led to shortages of raw materials in the past and called for the strengthening of value chains.
“Kenya largely depends on imports for raw materials and intermediate goods. Manufacturing SMEs have the potential to remedy this challenge, which is critical for championing industrialization. By strengthening manufacturing SMEs, we shall have an opportunity to produce goods for the local and international markets. As a government, we shall continue working towards creating an enabling environment and promote the ease of industrialization.”
KAM Chair, Rajan Shah noted that SMEs provide enormous opportunities for socio-economic transformation of our country’s economy.
“By providing a space where manufacturing SMEs are competitive, have access to regional and international markets, and maximize local agro-based inputs, then, they will have a ripple effect on the economy. Subsequently, accelerate the realization of our goal to increase the manufacturing sector’s contribution to the GDP from the current 7.2% to 20% by 2030.”
He appreciated that stakeholders are progressively dismantling one-size-fits all approaches and finding more nuanced ways to intervene and uplift micro, small and medium businesses, adding that “As an Association, we seek to bring together all stakeholders in the SME ecosystem, which entails product development; market access; financial linkages; logistics and warehousing; regulatory compliance; and corporate governance. Our focus shall be on creating a favourable environment for SMEs to flourish and ensure that they are at the centre of the discourse on matters development.”
The SME Convention brought together Manufacturing SMEs, the Ministry of Cooperatives and Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises; Ministry of Trade, Investments and Industry; and various government agencies.