Doors opening for Kenyan SMEs

December 17, 2008
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, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 17 – Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) will soon be introduced to the electronic trading opportunities, Export Promotion Council (EPC) officials have revealed.

EPC Chief Executive Officer Matanda Wabuyele said on Wednesday that through this platform which uses electronic commerce technologies, SMEs will be able to directly sell and expose their products to international buyers thus boost their export earning.

“From the electronic trading opportunities, they will graduate to the global trade directory services which will give them enormous opening for exchanging information on the buying and selling leads,” he said.

This followed the announcement that EPC, which was recently appointed as the country’s Trade Point Centre, had received the go-ahead to become a member the World Trade Point Federation (WTPF).

WTPF has over 100 trade information and facilitation centres in over 70 countries worldwide and it aims to strengthen the capacity of Trade Points to support SMEs in international trade, particularly those in developed and least developed countries.

“Through Trade Point, SMEs will be able to finding reliable business partners in over 70 countries worldwide and will be more encouraged to become digitally active in trade transactions,” Mr Wabuyele explained.

He added that this would promote e-commerce and broaden Kenya’s export base, while consolidating and expanding the country’s market share in the international market.

The CEO also disclosed that EPC had set up the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Division which would facilitate the mainstreaming of the Medium, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) including disadvantaged segments of the society into the export process.

“It also enhances Kenya’s competitiveness through product development and adaptation and value addition while enhancing exporting skills,” he explained.

He spoke during the launch of the second batch of 20 SMEs websites that are expected to provide international visibility and easy access of SMEs’ products to buyers.

Wabuyele said the first 20 websites which were launched in October last year had borne fruits and saw many small companies selling their products to international buyers.

He pointed out that the internet has brought immense opportunities for trading online and it allows for cost reduction of products and service differentiation.

“Web-based transactions will help SMEs to compete on the same level as large companies thus enabling them to thrive,” he added while pledging the Council’s support to the entrepreneurs.

The program was done in conjunction with USAID with the objective of enhancing Kenya’s ability to take advantage of the opportunities presented under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

It focuses on assisting exporters to access the USA market through the implementation of trade promotion activities and building business linkages between Kenyan exporters and US importers.

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