The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KNCCI) in collaboration with the National Government represented by H.E Dr.William Samoei Rutto CGH ,President of the Republic of Kenya ,Hon Geoffrey Rigathi Gachagua Deputy President of Kenya ,Investment ,Trade &Industry Cabinet Secretary Hon.Moses Kuria and key private sector players held the KNCCI SMEs Roundtable Forum in alignment with the Kenya Kwanza administration.
The Chamber 1st Vice President Dr.Erick Rutto moderated the first session with three panelists representing Eldo Hub ,Ngao Credit and Orange Economy with the emphasis on the challenges faced by the SMEs in various sectors.
The Chamber President Mr.Richard Ngatia in his remarks stated that MSMEs collaborating with government policies, programmes and initiatives is the surest way to create seamlessness and mutually supportive engagement.
He noted KNCCI, had already taken the lead on this ;
The last two years have taught us to build sustainable and resilient businesses; many small businesses closed during this period and took to digital platforms as an alternative for doing business.
A survey conducted in July 2022 shows 48% of businesses adopted the use of phones for marketing and sales, 20% established new strategic partnerships with other businesses
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Mastercard Foundation launched its COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program (CRRP) to support businesses (MSMEs), institutions, individuals, and communities respond to and withstand the impact of the pandemic while strengthening their resilience in the long run.
In Kenya, the Mastercard Foundation partnered with KNCCI among other organizations to provide targeted support to informal, microenterprises that were particularly hard hit by the pandemic. 18,000 KNCCI members, majority women and youth entrepreneurs received Ksh. 535 million collateral and interest free microloans as well as digitally delivered training to sustain their businesses during this difficult period.
Overall, the program created new digital channels to reach MSMEs and leveraged existing ones such as MPESA. It is estimated that the COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program sustained nearly 43,000 jobs, of which 44% or 8,700 were held by young people and 84% or 16,500 by women. The loans disbursement officially ended in May 2021.
We believe technology can serve as a force for progress, therefore, in support of your agenda on the digital superhighway and the creative economy, we propose to support the advancement of Science Technology Engineering Art and Math (STEAM), as education and educators play a key role in Kenya’s success. We feel a STEAM for all agenda shall prepare us better for the dynamic changing nature of work.
To close the digital divide, pathways to fast-growing technology jobs should include non-traditional programs such as apprenticeships and innovative high school programs that combine academic study with career-focused skills, to prepare our workforce for the future of work.
It is in this regard, in partnership with TradeMark Africa, we have built a digital platform for our members. Additionally, we have embarked on a partnership with Google Kenya to digitize and map 4million MSMEs across the country. A partnership with the ICC and UNECA will see us establish a center of entrepreneurship which seeks to digitalize 750,000 MSMEs over a period of 3 years in East and Central Africa with Kenya as the hub.
The President of the Republic of Kenya in his remarks stated that export documents will be digitized to reduce transaction costs and business information digitized and consolidated in an integrated portal. He also emphasized on the need to deepen the teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. He instructed that our TVETs be technology compliance and more industrial training and attachment be carried out.
MSMEs must be supported to participate in supply and value chains through establishment of processing plants and common shared facilities. The cost of production must also be lowered significantly.
The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry appreciates our sponsors DTB bank Kenya Ltd ,Equity Bank Ltd ,Stima Sacco ,Absa Bank Kenya Ltd and BAT Kenya . We also appreciate all our participants ;the panelists ,The Board of Directors ,The National Governing Council and members for being present