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Kenya exports face funding setback

NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 7 – Lack of government funding in the export sector is being touted as a major stumbling block for growth.

Export Promotion Council (EPC) Chief Executive Matanda Wabuyele said on Monday, that failure to establish an Export Development Fund (EDF) was frustrating efforts by the council to effectively market Kenyan goods abroad.

Mr Wabuyele said this has had an adverse effect on sourcing for new and emerging markets in an ultra competitive environment as effects of the global economic crisis continue to be felt.

“The fund would assist exporters in mounting various penetration strategies that would see them have a wider market for their goods,” Mr Wabuyele said.

He said EDF would create effective dynamics in the export sub sector to support export promotion.

“The fund would help us increase export volumes, enlarge the export scope, upgrade the competitive capacity of export products and services and penetrating new markets.”

Export Development Funds have been established in several African countries like Egypt, Ghana, Mauritius and Nigeria with notable levels of success.

He added that EDF would play a major role in enhancing the capacity of those in the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector to increase contributions of exports to the country’s economy.

“It is meant to assist SMEs as it is a cost sharing platform of fund which they tap into by writing proposals giving them an opportunity to have finance to grow their business,” he said.

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He highlighted that SMEs face a number of challenges especially in sustainable promotion of their products, which had seen many companies fold.

He was speaking while announcing that EPC had become a member of the World Trade Point Federation (WTPF) making it the trade point for Kenya.

As a trade point, the EPC will have an improved platform to give exporters better services through an established global network of other trade facilitating institutions across the world.

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

The trade point status is set to assist exporters, with special attention to SMEs, to international trade through the use of electronic commerce technologies.

“This is a great development that will link SME exporters with international buyers,” Mr Wabuyele said.

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.

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