The Kenyan government has outlined five key points aimed at increasing the contribution of the manufacturing sector to the country’s GDP, PS for Investment and industry, Betty Maina has said.
This emerged at the round table that was hosted by the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), where players from the private sector convened for the Big 4 Dialogue focused on manufacturing.
Betty Maina was the chief guest at the roundtable that was held earlier today at a Nairobi hotel.
According to KNCCI, attracting external investors to set up plants in the country, targeting manufacturers that can produce goods for the global market and the engagement of local players where external investors set-up with significant technology transfer – are among the key highlights of the five-point plan.
Other points include streamlining engagement with owners of Small & Medium-sized Enterprises(SMEs), and creating a favourable environment for manufacturing – by dealing with sub-standard and illicit goods.
According to Ms. Maina, investors targeting the manufacturing sector need to focus on key areas the government is aligned to including: pharmaceuticals, textiles & apparels and agro-processing, among others.
“In manufacturing of pharmaceuticals we have established that the Universal Health coverage pillar that we have as part of the Big 4 agenda can help provide a market for locally manufactured medicines as well as those from the COMESA region. Under textiles we want to ensure we can reduce the amounts of cotton that we are importing from countries like China to enable us send complete textiles and apparels to the USA under the AGOA agreement,” Said Betty Maina.
According to KNCCI’sNational Chairman, Mr. Kiprono Kittony – the Big 4 Dialogue will help to deal with the information asymmetry and help private and public sectors combine their thoughts on how the country can industrialise.
The government has also promised to revitalise various cash crops, including coffee, tea and cotton – through value addition to tea and coffee, introduction of new varieties such as BT cotton and through incentives offered to exporters of value added products.
“We would like at the end of these dialogues to put together a handbook for local and international investors to guide them where the opportunities reside in the Big 4,” said Kiprono Kittony, KNCCI’s Chairman.
According to data from the International Trade Centre, Kenya has a population of approximately 44.86 million, out of which an estimated 26 million lies in the working age group of 15–64. Kenya also has one of the largest youth populations in Africa, with almost 16 million people lying in the age group of 15–34 years. KenInvest predicts that by 2050, it is expected that Kenya’s total population will cross the 97 million mark, with a working age population of approximately 60 million.
The manufacturing sector is a key sector in Kenya’s economic development, in both its contribution to national output and exports, and for job creation. Key targets and specific goals have been put in place – to steer industrial growth. These include the development of Special Economic Zones, Industrial Parks and Clusters, and niche products.