Manufacturers have called on the government to strengthen the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) ecosystem in Kenya to provide competitiveness in the sector and have access to regional and international markets.
This was during the first ever Manufacturing SMEs Convention, hosted by Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM).
Addressing the sector players on Thursday, KAM Chair, Rajan Shah noted that SMEs provide enormous opportunities for socio-economic transformation of our country’s economy.
Shah challenged the government to maximize local agro-based inputs and accelerate the realization of the manufacturers goal to increase the sector’s contribution to the GDP from the current 7.2 percent to 20 percent by 2030.
“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.”
On his part, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Cooperatives and Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Simon Chelugui, observed that whereas Kenya has developed programs and initiatives to support MSMEs over the years, their potential is yet to be fully untapped.
“ With the right policies and regulations as well as an enabling environment, they shall be better positioned to grow into large companies. As the 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,” said CS Chelugui.
According to Chelugui there are about 7.5 million MSMEs in Kenya, contributing approximately 30 percent to the GDP with 85 percent of these in the informal economy.
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, hence, it is critical that we champion industrialization. In doing so, we shall be able to access local and international markets. We shall continue working towards creating an enabling environment and promote the ease of industrialization.”
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.