Manufacturers have called on Kenyans to embrace locally produced goods to inject additional impetus into the economy’s recovery.
Speaking during the official launch of the Changamka Kenya Shopping Festival, Mucai Kunyiha, Chairman of Kenya Association of Manufacturers explained that the event had been designed as part of broader efforts by the producers’ umbrella body to build confidence in the quality of their products.
The festival, which will feature over 120 companies from a variety of industries, is expected to expose Kenyans to new innovations and wide selection of goods.
“We are currently experiencing rising activity that is much higher than previously registered over the last 18 months, a trend that we expect to continue steadily over the short to medium term”, he said.
Kunyiha emphasized that the Manufacturers Summit and Expo to be in Nairobi from November 24th to 28th and the Expo scheduled for Mombasa from December 1st to 4th, are designed to bring manufacturers from various industries together to showcase their products and offer Kenyans an opportunity to engage with the various locally produced brands in a single setting.
He noted that the process of confidence building will rally sector players to also discuss common challenges facing them, including domestic and regional trade policy and to chart a common path for the future. These include addressing competitiveness components such as energy access and costs, transport and logistics as well as taxes.
Mr. Kunyiha added that the festival is a shot in the arm for the manufacturers to shore up local market demand even as they offer Kenyans unmatched prices for the household goods.
Echoing his sentiments, Kenya Association of Manufacturers Chief Executive Officer Phyllis Wakiaga pointed out that local producers have ramped up their efforts to build their capacity to serve both the local, regional and international markets.
“We intend to boost our members’ technical ability and knowledge about the nature and quality of in order to build Kenyan businesses to access more markets,” she said and added that the Association is keen to support emerging firms to penetrate the rest of the African region in line with the new thrust to increase intra-African trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the Middle East and Europe. This will expand the Kenyan economy by at least Ksh 300 billion if done successfully.
Betty Maina, the Cabinet Secretary for Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development noted that the Changamka Festival lends itself to the broader national Buy Kenya, Build Kenya strategy designed to position Kenya as an export-oriented growth economy while at the same time maintaining a level of domestic consumption sufficient to support the local value chains.
“We all agree that it is important to create public confidence in locally manufactured goods to prop the economy,” said Ms. Maina