The government has launched Component Two of the Kenya Industry and Entrepreneurship Project (KIEP 250+) micro-website and the SMARTME platform, an online application tool that will identify and select Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
The SMEs will be selected for the six cohorts to be undertaken during the remaining four years of the KIEP project, whose aim is to increase innovation and productivity in select private firms by creating linkages between startups, traditional industries and international networks.
Speaking at the launch at a Nairobi hotel where the industrialists and innovators gathered to celebrate the Africa Industrialization Day on 20th November, the Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development, Betty Maina said KIEP would target over 250 SMEs where large corporations or organizations will nominate potential SMEs suppliers in their supply chain.
She said those selected will participate in the upgrading programme funded through a performance contract. “This program is crucial as it will empower the SMEs with managerial and technical skills that will enable them improve their capital and upgrade their machinery and equipment for more productivity,” she said.Ms Maina encouraged SMEs to take advantage of the facility and log onto the KIEP250 website for more information.The CS at the same time announced that the government is negotiating with the United States for a Free Trade Agreement to open the way for more trade and investment opportunities.“We want Kenyan goods to have access into the vast American market duty free and quota free at the expiry of African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in 2025,” she said.
The CS also stated the government is also negotiating with the United Kingdom government for an Economic Partnership Agreement to have more market for export for the local industries and SMEs.She also urged Kenyans to promote locally made goods and services in support of domestic industry, noting this will enable the industries to create employment and reduce poverty.
Maina said the latest reports indicate that the country’s total exports increased by Ksh30 billion, thereby recording Ksh480 billion for the period between January and September this year, up from Ksh450 billion over the same period in 2019.
She said the total imports decreased by Ksh 128 billion to register Ksh1,199 billion in January to September 2020, down from Ksh1,327 billion as compared to the same period in 2019.“This is an indication that the balance of trade deficit improved by Ksh160 billion to Ksh718 billion in trade in January to September this year down from Ksh878billion over the same period in 2019,” she added.