•This will help to inculcate an exporting culture in the Kenyan business community and act as an enabler to the delivery of its functions.
•The Agency therefore would like to bridge the skills gap by rolling out targeted training programmes in collaboration with identified stakeholders.
Neoclassical economists are appreciated for pushing for the advancement of economic growth by growing the export function of the government.
The same has been propagated by policymakers across the globe resulting in the enhanced emphasis on a robust economic growth model where exports play a crucial role in contributing significantly to the country’s GDP growth.
A study by the World Trade Organisation showed that the highest average rate of GDP growth of 4.7 per cent realised in Africa between 2005 and 2010 was positively correlated to increased export growth of 16.7 per cent in the region.
While exporting is lucrative, it is riddled with numerous certifications. The acquisition, rules and regulations governing world trade (Rules of origin), specific market requirements, and specific product requirements, just to mention a few.
Further, it is appreciated that the export sector is dynamic in nature. Such dynamism can only be addressed through continuous appraising of market dynamics, accessibility, compliance with market entry requirements and applicable standards.
During the development of the Agency’s current strategic plan, a lack of information and skills development among entrepreneurs was identified as one of the hindrances to export growth.
The impact of limited access to timely, relevant, and accurate information on trade and branding to export development is both significant and adverse.
Limited knowledge of the products' supplies and capabilities as well as exporting skills in exporting remains a hindrance to prudent decision-making and internationalization of enterprises.
Kenya’s organization is mandated to promote exports; Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency (KEPROBA) is currently implementing the interventions identified to resolve the impediments to Kenya’s export trade dubbed, ‘Pain Areas’.
The exercise looks into the Pain Areas identified by exporters in different fields, that is, horticulture, manufacturing, handicrafts, tea, fisheries, services, coffee, chemicals, livestock, and fibres.
International business training is positively related to exporting performance and enhances the competitiveness of exporters.
Well-trained exporters are not only able to effectively negotiate with foreign entities and attract more foreign investment in identified sectors but also encourage robust trade domestically.
In Peru, the use of Connect Americas, an online platform that offers firms capacity-building services with general trade information, has boosted the capacity of businesses to export leading to an increase of between 1.8 per cent and 1.9 per cent in exports.
The Agency has put up several measures to grow and enhance the accessibility to information relating to export trade.
The principal resolution is the establishment of a knowledge repository, which is an “Exporters Academy” to respond to the above challenges and be a one-stop shop for all matters exports and support the Government's agenda of job creation for the Kenyan Youths.
This will help to inculcate an exporting culture in the Kenyan business community and act as an enabler to the delivery of its functions.
Exporting is one of the most important ways of linking an enterprise to the global economy, thus the Agency through the academy is geared to support firms to better integrate into the world economy through skills development.
The Agency therefore would like to bridge the skills gap by rolling out targeted training programmes in collaboration with identified stakeholders.
The Academy proposes to incorporate the youth, women and other vulnerable business enterprises in its activities with the view to equipping them with knowledge and hands-on experience.
Select captains of industry will share their journey into global space including exposure to international markets during the training.
The positive impact of export promotion programs on export competitiveness has been highlighted by Freixenet & Churakova (2018) in their study on Russian Manufactures.
By using government-provided consultancy, market information, and export training programs, the firms were able to connect and develop their personnel's skills and abilities, achieve high product quality differentiation, effectively utilize organizational resources to export, and successfully promote on international markets.
This initiative is well into some of the Agency’s functions of promoting and branding Kenyan exports through knowledge-based support and information to exporters and producers.
The information is based on export procedures and documentation, market entry requirements, and marketing techniques.
A closer analysis of some of the Trade Support Institutions in Kenya offering trade training services indicates that export development has not been accorded insufficient attention leaving exporters ill-equipped, hence the need for this project.
It is for all these reasons that the Agency wishes to establish the Kenya Exporters Academy to offer export development courses (both online and physical).
This will inculcate an exporting culture among Kenyans, create a pool of experts in the field of international trade and equip business owners with timely and relevant information to facilitate them to make informed decisions.
Once fully operational, the academy will conduct short training programs targeting exporters, offer coaching and entrepreneurial support to firms, and partner with international organizations to develop tailor-made modules based on identified needs.
The academy will liaise with local curriculum developers to assess the course content with the view to offering credible skills and knowledge sufficient for participation in international trade.
Kenya’s academy will borrow heavily from the International Trade Centre (ITC) concept to offer a variety of courses and issue certificates upon successful completion of the course.
The ITC has supported the development of similar initiatives in Ghana and Nigeria.
The overall objective of the academy is to provide high-quality, globally competitive training programmes and business support services to enable the Kenyan business community.
The specific objectives of the academy are to provide a one-stop shop, where existing, potential, and upcoming exporters can be guided wholistically in export matters.
It will also help develop and provide professional, quality and industry-driven practical training in export development and promote the Agency’s programmes.
It will also help collaborate with other International trade training Institutions to offer a variety of programmes both in Kenya and to regional countries.
The academy will offer enterprise mentorship, coaching and export readiness assessment.
It will also offer an alternative source of revenue generation to facilitate its sustainability and offer consultancy services on export development matters.
As an Agency, we call upon all stakeholders to embrace the programme because it will help more Kenyans participate in various value chains, in addition to creating more jobs for Kenyans.
WILFRED MARUBE, CEO KEPROBA