- Kenyan SMEs have been urged to leverage this year's summit in Burundi to exploit the immense untapped opportunities it has.
- Possible areas of investment include: Agro-processing; Education; Health & Medical; Finance & Banking; Energy; Light Manufacturing, and construction industry.
Kenya is keen on driving the growth of Micro Small and Medium-sized Enterprises with opportunities in the EAC, as this year’s regional trade fair heads to Bujumbura, Burundi.
Slated for between December 5 and 15, the summit seeks to host over 1,500 participating MSMEs across the region to showcase their products and innovative services.
Last year's edition was held in Kampala, Uganda.
Kenya will present about 300 SMEs, with the CS, Ministry of Cooperatives and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Simon Chelugui, urging businesses to leverage the platform to further understand the emerging market dynamics.
This, he said will help improve business practices and linkages for increased trade.
“The forum will not only present an opportunity for showcasing what Kenya has to offer but will also play a leading role in facilitating trade and business exchanges,"Chelugui said.
The Micro and Small Enterprises Authority (MSEA) is leading from the front in securing opportunities for MSMEs in Kenya.
According to MSEA chief executive Henry Rithaa, the government remains committed to creating opportunities and supporting the growth of Micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the country.
"The annual event creates an extremely important opportunity for exposure to the international market,” Rithaa said.
Reiterating the call to embrace the opportunity, Chelugui added that Burundi is a ‘virgin’ market, with immense unexploited opportunities.
“I encourage Kenyan MSMEs to take advantage of the excellent relations between the two countries to establish a foothold and exploit the emerging opportunities in terms of trade and investment,” he said.
Possible areas of investment and market penetration include agro-processing, education, health and medical, finance and banking, energy, light manufacturing, and construction industry.
The CS further noted that Burundi is also a regional hub and entry point to Eastern DRC, and the hinterland of the greater Central Africa region, an indicator of a potentially vast market that Kenyan exports can fully exploit.
The trade fair also seeks to provide an opportunity for emerging and innovative MSMEs to access the export market, as they steer toward the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
It also seeks to play a key role in the realisation of the strategy target to increase East Africa's intra-regional trade.
The EAC's expanded market size stands at 300 million people and a GDP approximation of $250 billion (Sh37.8 trillion), as a result of the recent entry of DRC into the community.
Chelugui noted that the new entry adds a significant impetus to the push to increase intra-EAC trade, especially given that the region now stretches from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, making it competitive and easy to access the free trade area.