Kenya is set to celebrate the African Industrial Day 2020 on Friday, November 20, this week at Movenpic Hotel in Nairobi.
The one week celebrations activities which commenced on Monday, November 16, will feature a mini exhibition of leading innovations by local entrepreneurs and a documentary on the role of manufacturing in the fight against covid-19.
African leaders, policy makers, representatives of private sector, academia, international financial institutions and development partners gather annually to showcase their products, a forum that is seen as an engine for sustainable development and poverty eradication.
Launching the Africa Day week on Monday at the NSSF Building, the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development, Betty Maina said the celebrations whose theme is ‘Inclusive and sustainable industrialization In AfCFTA and the Covid -19 is aimed at enhancing international cooperation and dialogue on the industrialization agenda.
“Industrialization is expected to eradicate poverty in the country through employment and wealth creation and sensitize on the establishment of the AfCFTA that was signed in March 2018 and becomes operational on January 1, 2021,” said Maina.
She said the celebrations will see the ministry launch the Kenya Industry and Entrepreneurship Project (KIEP) 250+ component 2, Small Medium Enterprises (SME) linkages and upgrading a website and a portal.
The CS announced that KIEP is a $50 million government project aimed at supporting innovations and productivity growth in the country, as well as supporting the government achieve growth targets set for private sector development.
Maina said the KIEP project targets SMEs, Business Development Service (BDS), providers’ strategic partners and the general public.
“The website will provide key information regarding the project, including SME and BDS eligibility criteria, links to the online application forms and frequently asked questions,” said Maina.
The CS said the KIEP project will support the Kenya Industrial Transformational Program to transform Kenya into a newly industrialized, globally competitive middle-income country, the Big Four Agenda and the digital transformation initiative which seeks to build an inclusive digital future across Africa.
Regarding the Free Trade Area (FTA), Maina said Kenya is currently negotiating with the United States which will guarantee access to Kenyan goods into the vast Western world market duty-free and quota-free even after the expiry of AGOA 2025.
“We are also in talks with the UK for an economic partnership agreement to take to the next level our trade and investment relations post-Brexit,” she said.
Maina added that partnership will secure long term duty free and quota free access to the United Kingdom for Kenyan exports and overall trade.
She appealed to Kenyan manufacturers to take advantage of East African Community and the European Union Economic Partnership Agreement to produce more products for export, as the government negotiates for more markets.
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed in 1989 that every year 20th November will be commemorated as the ‘Africa Industrialization Day’. This is a day that provides a platform for enhancing international cooperation and dialogue on the Pan-African industrialization agenda and to raise awareness of the opportunities and challenges on industrialization.
By Bernadette Khaduli