Enterprise

Kenya SMEs tap global markets at Dubai Expo

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Charity Maingi from Maika Agencies showcasing some products such as handicrafts, wooden crafts, African wears that she is selling at the Global Village in Dubai. PHOTO | KEVIN ROTICH | NMG

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Summary

  • The Global Village, which starts every October and ends in April, brings together the world’s largest tourism, leisure, shopping and entertainment players under one roof.
  • Kenya, like many other countries globally, has been participating in the event for more than five years as it seeks to grow export to Gulf Cooperation Council.
  • This year’s event, which has coincided with the expo, has boosted sales at the Village as the number of international visitors to Dubai has increased exponentially.

Kenya's small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) who are selling their products at the Global Village in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) are recording high sales, buoyed by the ongoing Dubai 2020 Expo.

The Global Village, which starts every October and ends in April, brings together the world’s largest tourism, leisure, shopping and entertainment players under one roof. In 2019/20, for instance, it attracted 7 million visitors from around the globe.

Kenya, like many other countries globally, has been participating in the event for more than five years as it seeks to grow export to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that brings together six countries, namely UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain as well as Middle-East region.

This year’s event, which has coincided with the expo, has boosted sales at the Village as the number of international visitors to Dubai has increased exponentially.

Due to this, Kenyan small traders are recording high sales as traffic increases at the Kenyan kiosk, which is hosted inside the African stand that houses other regional countries such as Ethiopia, Senegal, Rwanda, among others.

One of the companies at the Village is Rift Valley Ventures and Hotels, that is selling items such as hand and wood crafts, soapstones, stuff made of wood, African clothes, Kikois, Kihondos, masks, tea and coffee.

The company representative Anthony Ndeda says they target all customers irrespective of class or nationality.

The prices of their wares depend on the product with the lowest going for Sh1,012.07 (AED5), and the highest at Sh6,133.78 (AED200).

“We have got customers that come and buy and those that inquire and go,” Mr Ndeda told the Market Place recently in Dubai. On a good day, he says that they can get 20 customers.

Mr Ndeda notes that one of the key selling points for Kenyan stands are the country’s top sportsmen and women who dominate the world’s athletics, especially track and field events as well as marathons.

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On the left, Anthony Ndeda from the RiftValley Adventures Tours and Hotel Ltd standing in front of wares that they are selling at the Global Village in Dubai. PHOTO | KEVIN ROTICH | NMG

At this year's expo, Kenyan sent a delegation of renowned athletes such as the Olympic Gold medalist Ezekiel Kemboi and New York Marathon champion Priscah Jeptoo as well as former 800 metres champion Janeth Jepkosgei who participated in the Dubai Run that happend last month.

To set up a stand at the expo, one needs a Visa, permits, Covid-19 vaccine certificate, yellow fever certificate, among others.

Mr Ndeda says visitors are choosing to visit the expo more than the Global Village where their business is located.

“From what I have gathered from guys who have been here before, traffic for this Global Village is a bit low compared to the previous years,” he adds.

His sentiments are echoed by Charity Maingi from Maika Agencies who export handcrafts to many countries.

Ms Maingi says she first attended the expo in 2010, and she has been in the subsequent fares.

However, between the period, she paused for about four years to attend other exhibitions in Europe.

In Europe, she attended the 1998 Portugal Expo as well as another in Germany both under Export Promotion Centre (EPC).

Ms Maingi says she stopped going to Europe because of Covid-19 restrictions imposed after the first cases of the virus was detected last year.

“I think this year we will be going because they told us they will be opening,”she says.

Ms Maingi says the Big Five handcrafts are popular among buyers since Kenya is renowned for wildlife such as giraffes, lions, leopards, cheetahs, among others.

However, she says African shops have flooded the market with Giraffe hence high competition for customers.

She also sells wooden cooking spoons, African wears (for children and adults), handcrafts, soapstones, bowels, among others. She says that she is forced to reduce prices because the purchasing power of customers has been hit by the pandemic.

At the Village, they are charged Sh2 million for three by three metres shop. They also pay Sh98,140.54 (AED3,200) per month that is split among three occupants. For transport, she pays Sh920.07 (AED30) between the stall and Deira.

She says Kenya Export Promotion &and Brand Agency (Keproba) helped them transport the goods to Dubai.

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