IIA NEWS IN Kenya

More than most things, avocados symbolise middle-class millennials in the global north. Their journey from seedling to fruit, and a trip thousands of kilometres away represents opportunities further afield, in the developing world.

Great Global Traders, a Kenya-based start-up is an emerging member of this multi-billion dollar industry, established to empower marginalised members of the community. Focused on uplifting women and youth, Rosemary Muita’s business employs 800 professionally trained smallholder farmers across four counties, with expansion in her sights.

Entirely locally owned and operated, armed with an export licence for high-quality domestic produce, and with agri-processing opportunities, Rosemary’s business and vision show us what an AfCFTA-enabled future could look like.

Even when she first started with a handful of female farmers in a co-operative, she dreamed big, “If you think small, you stay small,” she explained. By training them in agricultural best practices and advocating organic growing methods, her network expanded.

This helped her envisage a future plans, prioritising export of avocados, developing a nuclear farm and having her own processing plant. By appointing a commercial coach, Invest in Africa helped her distil this into a decade-long plan, introduce digital marketing tools and formalise her business, developing a structure and hierarchy, allowing her to expand methodically.

Breaking cultural barriers preventing women from attaining financial independence remains central to her plans.

Rosemary has experienced this first-hand herself. Not having assets to collateralise loans, banks turn her away. “In Kenya women are not granted land rights, and the like, making it almost impossible to get funding. I have enquired with local banks but also some abroad and always the same story,” she lamented.

Such impediments lower the threshold of professional accomplishment and deter ambition 

for many women. Invest In Africa’s commitment to building inclusive economies is to break precisely these kinds of barriers. Rosemary is determined not to fall victim to this despite opportunities for growth being affected as a result.

Just as Great Global Traders were preparing to export into America, Europe and the Middle East, the pandemic struck, interrupting an important growth phase and crucial revenue streams. Unable to pay the farmers, and searching for revenue, Rosemary is powering on.

Learn more about Great Global Traders here: https://www.greatglobal.co.ke/ 

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Kenya’s economy is largely driven by Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and an informal sector that accounts for over 80% per cent of the total workforce. SMEs employ about 85% of Kenyan labour force which is close to 7.5 million aggregate employment (Gure & Karugu, 2018).  MSMEs utilize locally accessible resources, foster innovation, employ technology, assemble small-dispersed private savings, and foster entrepreneurship development. They are key to not only driving industrialization as envisaged in Vision 2030 but are also crucial in achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) geared towards improved, equitable and sustained human development.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on MSMEs has been immediately very detrimental and will continue to reverberate over a long recovery phase.   Multiple factors ranging from direct and indirect human health outcomes, disruption on supply chains, massive lay offs, decreased air freight services and limited outbound air freights continue to be felt as the country braces for the fourth wave of the predominant Delta variant. In the service industry, the drop in customers means no cash coming in to offset expenses and therefore a looming shut down and lay off of thousands of businesses and their employees will have ripple effects on clients, vendors, tertiary businesses, and the overall national economy. Service providers such as restaurants have been closed or switched to only take-away services, which has had direct and notable loss of income to the agricultural and transportation sector as well. In some parts of the country, gyms, daycare centers, hair salons and spas, retailers etc. have also shut down or operated on quarantine sensitive timeframes and social distancing in compliance to Ministry of Health recommendations.  The COVID-19 pandemic while often referred to as an unprecedented crisis has been a low probability high impact predicted event among scientists including infectious disease investigators. The pandemic has tested national level response capacity and will demand a robust recovery strategy that is cognizant and responsive to capacity to build back better in the face of disasters.  

As the cost in estimate the loss of lives and livelihoods continues to mount, it is very clear that the pandemic will affect the MSME ecosystem in an unprecedented way. At a macro level, The World Bank, cut Kenya’s 2021 economic growth projections to 4.5% compared to the previous projection of 6.8% growth which was to be the fastest in Africa, due to the impacts of COVID-19. This points to the need for MSME ecosystem stakeholders to act with a sense of urgency in protecting MSMEs from further impact, as well as buffer them from ongoing and future disasters which will have compounding shocks on the system. Historically, consideration of disaster impacts on MSMEs has not been prioritized as a business survival and continuity imperative. The approach to risk and disaster management has been reactive, short term and extrinsic to MSME sustainability and growth.  A systematic approach that is comprehensive in considering and investing in risk and disaster management as a strategic, proactive imperative has been underscored during COVID—19.

The role of government as we contend with the complex issues and uncertainty in an already fragile business environment, supporting MSMEs to build back better will be key not only due to the COVID-19 pandemic but in how they address emerging and existing risks and disasters including cyber security and climate change generated disasters.  It is incumbent on the government and all its partners to lay focus and take action through sustainable risk resilience measures to minimize the impacts on lives and livelihoods.

An opportunity to integrate a risk and disaster management approach as an integral component of MSME development and sustainability model exists and should be leveraged.  This approach through a development lens requires the collective engagement of public and private sector, development actors, academia, and the public in general as a collective taking into consideration risk and disaster management.

As Kenya grapples with the ongoing pandemic demands, specific sectors can be leveraged during the response and recovery phase to establish a foundation for MSME resilience.  Kenya should leverage on its ICT capacity to make use of early warning systems and fully integrate risk modelling in its economic planning. Factoring risk and disaster impacts into decision making processes and cost benefit analysis stands to offer the MSME ecosystem a tangible motivation for investing in preparedness and mitigation processes and infrastructure.  The use of science and technology to guide development discussions and strategies will bring on board the much-needed real time data, allowing for detailed and realistic implementation plans. Further, engaging with the science and technology community will foster a culture of solid vulnerability assessments, as well as evaluation and monitoring mechanisms which are an imperative for sustainable MSME development initiatives.

The role of government and disaster governance cannot be underestimated.  A quintessential role of government is in protecting its citizens and institutions especially when their resource is depleted or overwhelmed.  In May 2020, the government of Kenya unveiled Ksh 53.7 billion economic stimulus package that included a Ksh 3 billion initial seed capital for the credit guarantee scheme to boost MSMEs. This commendable investment effort by the government of Kenya appeals for strengthened implementation plans and accountability frameworks. Accountability frameworks will also increase risk literacy, improve risk visibility, and educate MSMEs to shift the disaster management focus from response to a more comprehensive approach inclusive of recovery mitigation, risk reduction and prevention, to minimize the impacts of disasters for those that cannot be eliminated entirely.  

Addressing MSME resilience calls for an all-of-society engagement. Invest In Africa (IIA) – Kenya is an organization established in 2016 in Kenya with the objective to grow African MSMEs by improving their access to skills, markets, and finance with the goal of transforming their competitiveness, creating opportunities and jobs which in turn enhance human development.  Based on IIAs engagement in Kenya, participant expectations and data gathered in the ongoing pandemic, the opportunities and challenges of establishing and accelerating SME resilience were operationalized in October 2020.  Through a multi-stakeholder approach, (termed the Dialogue Series), IIA brought together 7 partners from the government, private sector, SME eco-system, academia, development actors and multilateral organizations, with a vision of building and enhancing capacity to risk and disaster management frameworks. Specifically, the three-part dialogue series and an ask the expert virtual session addressed pertinent topics and queries on advocating for investment in disaster risk and disaster cycle management and build back better strategies. 229 participants attended this series which was developed and anchored on needs as determined by IIA and its partners. Participants were notably interested in testimonials by local SMEs who through innovation have re-structured their approaches as a business continuity and survival imperative. The dialogue series initiative has paved way to the formulation of an MSME Risk Resilience Framework, geared towards operationalizing recommendations from the dialogue series with a roll-out envisaged in 2022.

As the MSMEs pursue resilience building strategies, IIA commits to applying and holding the process as a priority.  IIA is engaging with partners in developing policy, practices and training that will facilitate a multi-pronged approach, offer accountability and sustainability to ensuring that MSMEs have access to requisite tools towards minimizing disaster impacts. Indeed, a strategic and coordinated approach to MSME resilience building will prevent the duplication of the already scarce financial and human resources. Further, this approach will contribute to a focused implementation plan.

Finally, the important role of MSMEs in Kenya cannot be overstated. This is a clarion call to all MSMEs and partners to shift the mind-set of a siloed approach and seek for a more cohesive and integrated approach to resilience building.

 


By:

Wangechi Muriuki – Impact Area Lead, Africa Networks at Creative Metier; Former Country Manager, Invest in Africa (IIA) - Kenya.

Ms. Muthoni Njogu – Social Entrepreneur and Lead, Mweiga Youth Empowerment Group.

Dr. Njoki Mwarumba - Faculty – Disaster Cycle Management, Strathmore University Business School; Assistant Professor of Emergency Management and Disaster Preparedness, University of Nebraska, Omaha.

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The turmoil in northern Mozambique has thrown a spotlight on the sustainability and ESG efforts of international oil companies (IOCs) in Africa. Historically they have not had the most constructive relationships with governments and native communities.

Often the emphasis on developing or integrating local companies and people into the supply chains or operations of these large extractive projects can be wrapped up in temporary CSR missions and not built into the longer-term frameworks of national development agendas or company vision statements.

In doing so, this improves the understanding of their operating environments, lowering their costs of procurement and building capacity and capabilities of enterprises and individuals. And crucially, this improves the economic prospects of the host country, reinvesting in human capital and improving the social economy.

Increasingly this is being implemented as the industry takes on more responsibility and some of these concerns are addressed by local content regulation – which aims to increase opportunities of local businesses in these value chains. However, this is only the starting point.

Before projects are established, it is essential that IOCs and the public sector establish clear metrics, promoting participation of locals, to monitor and evaluate against over the project duration.

This is where the guidance of experienced partners like Invest in Africa, who have cut their teeth in these industries, have a clear vision of what local sustainability means and how best to implement considered ESG strategies.

Read more of Invest in Africa Director William Pollen’s thoughts in his thought leadership piece for Environmental Finance here: https://www.environmental-finance.com/content/analysis/big-oil-needs-big-change-to-its-sustainability-approach-in-africa.html   

 

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The prospect of graduating for many young students should create excitement and anxiety, in equal measure, for what the future holds. In Kenya those scales tip more towards trepidation. There seems to be more certainty to what life after university has in store, and sadly, unemployment is increasingly common for young graduates.

Invest In Africa’s Kenya team, spearheaded by IT Lead, David Ajowi, embarked on a mission to enhance opportunities for Kenya’s youth. With 65% of the young people out of work, they developed the IIA Technology Innovation Internship Program – that starts with a hackathon.

The program seeks to identify talent and enable young graduates and university students to harness their talent through the industry linkages and provide a platform from which they can gain experience through job exposure and become drivers of change.

During the hackathon applicants were invited to develop ideas and solutions to digitise processes within small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to make them more efficient, saving on resources and improving customer experience.

The idea was designed to simultaneously address two major economic constraints – youth unemployment and survival of SMEs, severely affected by the pandemic. Submissions from the hackathon would contribute to the sustainability of these businesses while leveraging the underutilised digital expertise of the nation’s youth.

“Submissions to the hackathon included a range of innovative, creative and unique solutions to multiple business challenges faced by SMEs across the country. The hackathon judges were very impressed and encouraged to see the capabilities of participants,” said David Ajowi.

After an in-depth judging process, the overall winner of the hackathon was announced: Gloria Simiyu won with her idea that addressed a serious societal challenge with a simple tech-led business solution. As the hospitality industry witnessed a considerable downturn in client numbers during the pandemic, they were left with excesses of leftover food.

The business expense combined with the opportunity cost of the wasted food inspired Gloria to share help the less fortunate in society. Some of the food was distributed through collaborations with charities and some sold to those unable to purchase in person through a mobile application.

“I am ecstatic to have won this hackathon and grateful for the opportunity to showcase my project,” explained Gloria, who is well attuned to the lack of opportunities for Kenya’s young techies. That is why she believes tremendous tech talent remains ‘undiscovered’ across the country.

She will work with the IIA team to further develop her idea and believes with their guidance it will be a success. Gloria will also be able to lean on newly acquired knowledge from the complementary web development course she was gifted as winner of the hackathon.

In second place, Samson Muchai and his colleagues developed Cleansafi, an Android application designed to expose laundromats in Nairobi to a wider market, boosting their revenue streams and enabling growth; benefitting their clients with improved service and their suppliers with larger orders.

The brilliance and range of ideas presented exhibits the plethora of tech talent in the country and we are determined it has a platform to shine. Look out on our channels for the next hackathon!

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Picking apart Africa’s energy transition, the progress needed to be made, numerous decisions to consider and the need for supportive policy to accelerate efforts – here is Episode 3 of Gaia Says No – Africa, hosted by future Net Zero.

Joining IIA's Director, William Pollen are Dr Amy Jadesimi, Managing Director of LADOL Free Zone in Lagos, Stanley Nyoni, Sustainability and Leadership Advisor, with future Net Zero’s founder, Sumit Bose directing the conversation.

Listen here and please feel free to share among your networks to keep the conversation going!

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AfCFTA gives glimpse of new African destiny

An increasingly insular post-Covid world economy has created the opportunity for Africa to lead the global trade agenda. Economies on the continent must seize it with both hands, writes director of Invest In Africa, William Pollen.

Africa’s debt-laden economies bore the brunt of the global economic fallout from the pandemic, while the continent grappled with its first recession in twenty-five years. Sub-Saharan Africa’s pleas for debt relief were met with scepticism by richer nations, as 30m people on the continent slid into extreme poverty last year.

Yet as richer economies retreat into isolationism, they have failed to coordinate a collective response to the pandemic that considers the needs of poorer nations with less advanced healthcare systems.

Public debt in sub-Saharan Africa has ballooned to 66% of gross domestic product, while debt service payments average 32% of annual revenue, IMF data from 2020 indicates.

But there are reasons to be more optimistic in 2021 and beyond.

Firstly, the birth of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was a timely reminder of where the continent’s priorities lie. Secondly, the drive for greater sustainability – turbocharged by the pandemic – gives Africa a chance to redefine sustainability in an African context and turn it into a competitive advantage.

The AfCFTA- A New Dawn?

Against a backdrop of a record GDP per capita contraction, the continent is feeling the pinch of dwindling export revenues and declining foreign direct investment (FDI). Uncertainty and economic tremors are heightening investor anxiety, who faced with the fight or flight option, have fled with $700bn from developing countries.

Multinationals have reduced, delayed or in some cases cancelled investment into Africa altogether, instead preferring to invest into safer ‘home’ markets.

Africa’s risk profile is in part shaped by the terms dictated by the global north. Though the AfCFTA may not achieve complete emancipation, it gives Africa more influence over its economic ambitions.

Only Africa can realise the substantial opportunities the AfCFTA offers, such as creating homegrown investment, domestic economic expansion, and jobs for its young, ambitious and entrepreneurial populations.

As other countries turn inward, trade over the next decade and a half will boost Africa’s income by $450bn and contribute $76bn to the world economy, underlining its importance to the global trade agenda.

At a bare minimum, better cohesion among Africa’s 55 countries is imperative to driving sustained growth, while leveraging the full potential of a region with a combined GDP of $3.4trn can be a powerful accelerator.

At present, only around 16.6% of goods traded by African countries remain on the continent’s shores.

The AfCFTA will stimulate progress towards a continental customs union, eliminating 90% of trade barriers, facilitating free movement, easing access to markets and trimming red tape, to boost intra-African trade by 50%.  

Effective execution of the agreement will lift an estimated 30 million on the continent out of extreme poverty, as well as develop more supportive, sustainable social systems.

As Covid-19 exposes the fragilities of women’s economic positions across the continent, the AfCFTA will bolster their financial independence. Beyond that, the continent’s burgeoning aspirational youth, increasingly disenfranchised by earning a livelihood in the rural, primary sector will be afforded more opportunities as production and trade benefit from a more efficient value chain.

One of the largest impacts the AfCFTA can imprint on the continent is realising greater value from its wealth of natural resources. Despite having 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land, Africa is a net food importer, just as the world’s tenth largest oil producer, Nigeria, relies on other countries for its fuel.

Raw materials account for the majority of exports with around 70% of value addition happening off African shores. Technological development, demographic shifts and changing lifestyle trends all support this movement.

As the continent works towards successful implementation of the AfCFTA, it should build an inclusive continental economy on existing foundations, that lifts up small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

SMEs account for an estimated 80% of all businesses and even more job opportunities across the continent, making them vital to empowering marginalised members of the community.

The importance of SME success has been highlighted by initiatives led by the likes of the AfDB and Afrexim Bank, to strengthen the implementation framework in their favour. Their efforts will be supported by the first woman and African at the helm of the World Trade Organisation, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Sustainability – an opportunity within AfCFTA?

Sustainability brings with it commercial advantage, allowing SMEs to be more competitive at home and abroad. However, sustainability in the African business context is largely misunderstood, both domestically and overseas, and often imposed ‘top down‘ as a cost of doing business with big corporates or multinationals.

However, Covid has accelerated the relevance of sustainability to all businesses, big and small, foreign, and domestic.

The importance of governance, environmental impact and relationships with consumers, staff and local communities have all been highlighted by the pandemic.

Paralysed global supply chains further highlighted the value of onshoring, or having local suppliers. When combined with the opportunities the AfCFTA brings, now is a unique moment for African SMEs to redefine what sustainability means to them and then go after it, increasing their competitiveness and market share.

This is not about protectionism or barriers, but the opposite. At a time when global institutions are looking increasingly insular and regional trading blocs are failing to function, the AfCFTA is an opportunity for Africa to lead the global trade agenda.

African countries must not allow it to be dictated by multinationals whose shareholders usually reside outside the continent. It must be their own success story: an African solution to the global challenge of sustainability.

William Pollen is the director of Invest in Africa, a non-profit with the vision to create prospering African economies.

Originally published on African Business, 12 March 2021

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The third and final webinar in our AfCFTA series in partnership with the UK Department for International Trade, explored the challenges and opportunities presented by the Continental Free Trade Agreement was a resounding success. Our impressive panel, made up of Commissioner for Trade & Industry, African Union Commission, Albert Muchanga; HM Trade Commissioner for Africa, Emma Wade-Smith OBE; Head of Research, Africa & Middle East at Standard Chartered Bank, Razia Khan; Founder of AB & David Law, David Ofosu-Dorte; and Head of Grains & Oil Seed Trade at Export Trading Group, Giles Lewis, brought all their experience and expertise to the table making for a fruitful discussion. 

Watch the footage here.

AfCFTA is a $450bn opportunity: The World Bank estimates that the successful implementation of the AfCFTA has the potential to add 450bn USD to Africa’s GDP over the next 10 years. As other nations look increasingly inwards, this is an opportunity for Africa to lead the global trade agenda.

1. Post-crisis recovery: The AfCFTA will play an important role in accelerating economic growth in the longer term and offsetting some of the economic headwinds resulting from the Covid-19 crisis, preventing permanent scarring such as widespread business closures and job losses. Governments and businesses should seize the opportunity to recover in a greener, more sustainable way.

2. Significant progress already made on standardisation and rules of origin: intent to have a ‘Made in Africa’ initiative recognised across the continent in short term future.

3. Infrastructure is key to successful trade: The African infrastructure gap (estimated at between $130 and $170bn per year) is a significant impediment to intra-African trade. Investment in infrastructure and transport linkages is much needed to support the trade framework.

4. Opportunities: Construction (to bridge the infrastructure gap), food / agribusiness, textiles and healthcare opportunities made real by AfCFTA

5. Challenges: SMEs preparedness: More work needs to be done to prepare and encourage SMEs. Surveys show that only 45% of African SMEs are ready to take advantage of the AfCFTA. In order for business of all sizes to reap the benefits of the free trade agreement, clarity, consistency and transparency are essential, as well as collaboration between both public and private sectors. The work of organisations like Invest in Africa will be vital here.

6. AfCFTA creates Economies of Scale that makes Africa a more attractive investment destination: Historically, investor appetite into Africa has been low, due in large part to market size as well as tariff and non-tariff barriers. The free trade area represents an incentive for the private sector to get involved in Africa by creating economies of scale and inspiring private capital flow. AfCFTA can turn the scale ‘on paper’ into a reality and make the opportunity worthwhile for larger investors.

7. Be patient, be persistent, be positive: The last year has shown that when we pull together we can achieve remarkable things (vaccines that used to take 10 years, ready in one year)- AfCFTA won’t be perfect from 2021 but the foundations have already been created, the political will is there, now it is up to the private and public sector to collaborate and support one another to ensure the single greatest global trade opportunity succeeds.

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Job title: Invest in Africa -IIA- (UK)- Account Executive  
 
The ideal candidate will be passionate about breaking into the African business and / or international
development space.

This entry level role is for someone who is looking to build their knowledge and understanding of
working in African investment and /or development sector. Although defined by primarily important but
routine, supporting tasks the role also has great scope for someone with initiative, proactivity and a
desire to over deliver to develop it into a larger role. For example, with direct project accountability and
oversight of the marketing function.

Job purpose  
To provide important operational support to the team of project managers and senior management in
the London office of Invest in Africa. This includes being on top of all the detail of day to day reporting
and back office functions as well as coordinating with colleagues in regional (Africa) offices to ensure
efficient ways of working across all programmes and systems. The role will also require oversight for the
day to day relationship with IIAs marketing agency, including the production of presentations, case
studies and some social media / website activity.
 
 
 Duties and responsibilities  
  

1. Liaise with IIAs African offices/colleagues to ensure coordinated approach across IIAs key programmes
2. Produce regular reports, case studies, impact summaries for use in IIAs presentations and marketing
3. Liaise with all IIAs third party providers and suppliers to ensure all contracts competitive and up to date
4. Manage all ‘back office’ functions (Salesforce, Project Place, travel, insurance, some aspects of finance)
5. Manage relationships with marketing agency to see work is produced on brief, on time and on budget
6. Support the UK team with materials and research
7. Run and manage all IIA UK related events (approx. 3 p.a) 
8. Including the planning yearly calendar of events, guest lists, venue, media etc. 
9. Oversee content management, master contacts database and in time upkeep of the official IIA website 
10. Create and edit some marketing materials including brochures and videos
11. Create and send out the company's quarterly newsletter 
12. Manage IIA’s social media accounts through frequent posts, online promotion  

Qualifications / Experience
•    Degree level graduate, or equivalent 
•    3+ years of business experience preferable 
•    Strong written and verbal communication skills 
•    Strong organisational skills 
•    Able to work to tight deadlines on more than one task at a time (ie multitask under pressure) 
• Must have a natural tendency to take the initiative on work with a proactive mindset 

All applicants must have eligibility to work in the UK and be available to work in London as of April / May
2020.

Please send CV and short covering letter to michael.amaning@investinafrica.com 

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Invest In Africa (IIA-Kenya) in partnership with the Department of Trade, Gender and Youth of the Turkana County Government, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Lundin Foundation, Technoserve, and Tullow Kenya, organized the 2nd annual business forum in Turkana County dubbed, ‘THE TURKANA BUSINESS EXCHANGE FORUM and MSME EXPO 2019.’ This event is a follow-up to last year’s IIA-led event that was held against the background of the Credit Guarantee Scheme (CGS) which has seen IIA-Kenya work with over 125 MSMEs in Turkana through the platform.

The exchange forum and MSME EXPO was conceived as an interactive platform bringing together several actors in the County including County and National Government Ministries and Agencies, private sector entities, business associations, bilateral and multilateral agencies, academia and MSMEs. This interaction aims to position the MSMEs to take advantage of Business Linkage opportunities through networking, showcase MSMEs from Turkana and public-private open dialogue to address key policy issues affecting the business environment in Turkana.


The key objectives of this year’s forum (BEF 2019) were: to provide a platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue – with the Turkana County Government (TCG), on the action areas identified at the previous Business Exchange Forum (BEF 2018) and progress made towards operationalizing the MSME Development Framework; to increase opportunities for public-private partnership for increased investment into Turkana County; to showcase scalable local Turkana businesses for the purpose of creating viable linkages for skills, finance and markets; and to understand the different MSME development initiatives and identify the areas of possible synergies.


This year’s theme is ‘Enhancing MSME Competitiveness for Business Linkages’, focused on the key value chains which carry opportunities in Turkana county. These value chains include; Extractives, Agribusiness, Basketry and Handicrafts, Construction and Fisheries. The other additional areas the forum covered included Refugee Livelihoods and wholesale and retail business.

This year’s forum was attended by 150 participants drawn from the private sector, government, business community, and Media. 43 MSMEs from Turkana County also exhibited at the EXPO. The highlight of this year’s event was the participation of MSMEs from the humanitarian ecosystem from Kakuma/Kaloyebei in Turkana West. IIA’s partners, Kenya Tullow and Equity Bank, facilitated sector discussions on Extractives and Access to finance respectively.

The event was graced by His Excellency, Josephat Nanok, Governor – Turkana County with participation from high-level county ministers. The event brings together several private sector actors, business associations, bilateral and multilateral agencies, academia, the business community, MSMEs and the media.

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Invest in Africa in partnership with SME Advisory Presidency, hosted a breakfast event themed ‘Growing an Inclusive Economy: Creating Linkages for MSMEs within the Big Four Agenda’. The event was aimed at highlighting the important role MSMEs play in the Kenyan economy on its trajectory of industrialization and job creation. We will elucidate the on-going challenges MSMEs face in their business activities and share ideas on how to better support the sector to take advantage of the potential economic power of the MSMEs for the benefit of all Kenyans.

Invest in Africa, celebrating two years of it's online platform unveiled the new identity/name of the platform from the 'African Partner Pool (APP)' to the 'Biashara.Now.' The online technology platform links MSMEs with procurement opportunities available to the private sector across value chains to promote local content and business sustainability.

Speaking during the launch, IIA-Kenya Country Director Wangechi Muriuki said, “ in just two years, we have been able to register 2,250 MSMEs registered on our platform, recruit over 20 partners who have provided 67 tenders worth Kes, 270 Million being won so far by MSMEs. Additionally, over 200 MSMEs have been trained and over Kes, 300 Million of financing unlocked through these partnerships.”

Wangechi added that it is IIA-Kenya’s belief that the new identity will spur increased mutual value and engagements between Buyers, Partners and SMEs as we continue working towards IIA's vision of Prospering African Economies in Kenya.

The event was graced by Honourable Peter Munya, the Cabinet Secretary of Trade Industry as well as representatives from IIA’s partner organizations, academia, policymakers, MSMEs from the IIA platform and other high ranking officials from the bilateral and diplomatic missions.

IIA Kenya aims to leverage on the new brand identity that speaks to the market to refocus on its path towards our vision of ‘Connecting Kenyan SMEs to contracts worth Ksh.1billion and create 25,000 jobs by the year 2020’.

For inquiries contact

Denis Mbau on 0724988258 or denis.mbau@investinafrica.com

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