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Export Agency seals a deal with ITC to strengthen e-commerce for exporters

Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency (KEPROBA) has signed a partnership pact with International Trade Centre (ITC) to build the capacity of Kenyan Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) on E-commerce.

KEPROBA Chief Executive Officer Dr. Wilfred Marube in a speech read on his behalf by the Director, Stakeholder coordination and Resource Mobilization Floice Mukabana during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding Wednesday, said the partnership will benefit over 500 MSMEs.

Dr. Marube added that the partnership will enhance market access for Kenyan exporters by training them on how they can use e-commerce tools to access markets globally.

“Today we celebrate yet another milestone of empowering our exporters to be able to interact and sell globally through e-commerce. This initiative will help expand our export pie in the global markets,” he said.

The CEO said the partnership between the two institutions will entail development of joint initiatives to build a community of e-commerce entrepreneurs and MSMEs in Kenya, provide access to ITC’s online training resources and tools to build knowledge and skills in Ecommerce.

He also noted that the collaboration will raise awareness and skill levels and put in place partnerships to support the uptake of and success in ecommerce as well as organize webinars, workshops and networking opportunities via the ecomConnect.org online community.

“The recent Covid-19 pandemic taught us that everything is possible with the internet. As the future of everything is digital, we want to leverage technology to ensure that not even distance or time can hinder our exporters from transacting. We are thus creating a way that will enable Kenyan exporters to list their products to international e- commerce platforms, which will enhance visibility of Kenya’s products globally,” said Dr. Marube.

He expressed that the ecommerce sites will enable Kenya to penetrate untapped markets, link new buyers to Kenyan made products, while also giving ample space for research on Kenyan products and online purchases from buyers in different countries.

The exploitation of digital space, Marube explained, will also increase awareness and penetration of Kenyan products, hence increasing the target market share, much to the benefit of Kenyan exporters.

The fully integrated and interactive portal will provide exporters, buyers and sellers an opportunity to showcase and trade their products globally, also be a reservoir of information for various stakeholders to influence trade, investments and positive nation brand.

Digital Transformation and E-commerce Expert, ITC Ms. Annabel Sykes in her remarks said according to the latest data provided by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), e-commerce contributed almost 26 trillion dollars of global trade in 2018, with Business-to Business (B2B) amounting to over 80 percent of this trade adding that the number of people who transacted online across borders reached close to 1.5 billion.

“Digital trade is a key driver of economic development especially for small businesses. Indeed, e-commerce offers the potential for small businesses to tap unlimited markets across the globe,” said Sykes, adding that it can provide significant income from outside the country and helps to build a more resilient digital economy.

She noted that Kenyan exporters will thus have access to the ITC SME Academy, an online platform where the ecommerce courses are offered periodically, where the participants are supposed to conclude the trainings within two weeks and issued with a certificate on completion.

ITC is a joint subsidiary organ of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations with a mission to build trade-led growth and support micro, small and medium-sized businesses to compete globally.

By Catherine Muindi

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