About 4,400 Kenyan micro and small enterprise operators have benefitted from the regional trade fair since inception two decades ago.
Micro and Small Enterprises Authority has revealed that out of this, over 30 percent of these have established solid regional trade links within the East Africa Community, enhancing Kenya's exports to the region.
This is through EAC exhibition, MSMEs Trade fair that brings together businesses every year from trading bloc’s six partner states - Kenya, Tanzania Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Uganda to help them find new markets for their products and bridge technological know-how gaps.
The countries held the 21st edition in Mwanza Tanzania, from December 2 and ended on Sunday, with a focus on innovation to enhance EAC MSEs competitiveness and post Covid-19 recovery.
Kenya sponsored over 200 MSEs in this year’s exhibition that targeted to support 800 companies from the six partner states to develop new regional channels and increase their market reach.
“This fair has contributed towards the realization of the EAC regional integration and development goals by offering MSEs in the region an opportunity to market their products and services,” director-general of the MSE Authority, Henry Rithaa said.
“It is an opportunity to build strategic business networks that will grow our businesses now and in the future.”
The government is using the exhibition to also push for formalisation of the MSE informal sector business activities within the region through registration.
The Authority has partnered with United Nations agency, UNDP to develop digital infrastructure to facilitate the registration of MSE associations.
A registrar of MSEs was present in the fair to register and include the businesses in the database.
MSMEs have been credited for contributing 85 percent of employment and 25 percent to the GDP.