By Shadrack Nyakoe
KCB has reaffirmed its support to SMEs and MSMEs to sustain and scale up their operations after sponsoring 12 SMEs from Coastal Region to showcase their products and services at the Kenya Association of Manufacturers’ Changamka Festival summit and expo in Mombasa.
Speaking during the opening ceremony of the Summit and Expo in Mombasa, KCB Bank Kenya Regional Business Manager Coast, Mrs. Jane Isiaho underscored the importance of SMEs and MSMEs in economic recovery.
“As KCB Bank we firmly believe that the SMEs and MSMEs will be the bedrock of a robust, inclusive, and sustainable economic system. The sector has continued to play an integral role in contributing to this great country’s economic growth potential,” Mrs. Jane said.
The Changamka Festival Summit and Expo provides an essential link for cooperation, dialogue and understanding with the various stakeholders and the Kenyan Government by representing the views and concerns of SMEs in the country. In pursuit of its core mandate of policy advocacy, KAM promotes trade and investment, upholds standards, and encourages the formulation, enactment and administration of sound policies that facilitate a competitive business environment and reduce the cost of doing business.
The Coastal edition of the Changamka Festival seeks to increase product awareness and the significance of supporting local manufacturing. The festival will showcase the quality and diversity of locally manufactured goods made for local, regional, and international markets.
During Covid 2020/21, Kenya’s emphasis was on local production which further enhanced the offering by SMEs. The key highlight of the festival was to improve the image and profile of local manufacturing to demonstrate innovation, employment creation, increased tax basket, and support for local manufacturing under the ‘Buy Kenya, Build Kenya’ policy.
The Chief Guest and Consul General of the Republic of Uganda, Mr. Paul Mukumbya called for closer collaboration with various stakeholders in the region to overcome the operational challenges, including pandemic and geopolitical tensions. “With the disruption of global values, the business sector has seen a lot of chances as the business shifts to local markets. It is therefore imperative for both the Public and Private sector players to come together and drive the acceleration of economic growth through initiatives under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)”, Mr. Mukumbya said.
The event brought together over 30 local SMEs and MSMEs exhibitors from the Coastal Region to explore the interventions needed to aid the country’s economic and manufacturing sectors’ recovery from the damaging impact of the pandemic. In addition, it provided a platform for the attendees to share learnings on how to reduce the impact of their industrial and manufacturing processes on the environment.