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Kenya, France partner to advance SME innovations 

The Government of France has expressed its commitment to forge a partnership with the Kenyan Government to unveil projects that will boost innovation and improve access to finance for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the Country.

French Ambassador to Kenya H.E Aline Kuster-Menager, addressing participants during the 3rd Lake Basin Innovation and Investment Week Conference held in Kisumu County, Tuesday. Photo by Robert Ojwang’

French Ambassador to Kenya Mrs. Aline Kuster-Menager, revealed that the two countries would roll-out ambitious programs geared towards benefiting innovative startups with a bias in academic and scientific research, entrepreneurship and innovations.

Kuster-Menager was speaking in Kisumu where she is on a two-days working tour on the progress of projects financed by the French Development Agency (AFD).

The delegation from the Embassy officiated the launch of the Lake Basin Innovation and Investment Week Conference sponsored by the Solidarity Fund for Innovative Projects (FSPI), a grant from the French Government.

“We are interested in the Lake Basin region because the digital community is global. Kenya is a very dynamic country with lively young people, especially in the agriculture space that has great innovations and this region is a key player,” said Kuster-Menager.

The Conference running from 16th – 19th November, provides vendors and exhibitors a platform to showcase their innovations, products and services as well as receive mentorship from experts in various fields of entrepreneurship, investment and innovation, to help them kick-start and boost their careers in Technology.

Kisumu Governor, Prof. Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, commended the organizers of the innovation summit for providing a platform for SMEs to upscale their inventions and remain sustainable.

“We appreciate the vital role being played by the French Government in the developments of Kisumu City and other parts of the County, particularly the Kisumu Urban Project (KUP) and other empowerment programs that support SME’s in the region,” noted Nyong’o.

The Governor said that French Embassy is regarded as a key development partner in Kisumu and has supported numerous projects under the KUP banner in the areas of education, health, water and sanitation.

The Health Pillar Director at Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB), Dr. Rosemary Obara, called on potential investors to support young entrepreneurs in advancing their innovative ideas.

“We call upon partners to help develop innovative products that can spur economic development of the 14 Lake Basin counties which have 25 per cent of Kenya’s population,” appealed Dr. Obara.

She disclosed that the Lakeside County has collaborated with different universities to come-up with different innovations for the region, citing Maseno University for Health and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology for agriculture.

By Robert Ojwang’ 

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