Technology and e-commerce are the next frontiers in Kenyan development agenda

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KAM Board Director and SME Hub Chair, Ciiru Waithaka engages Jumia Kenya Managing Director, Sam Chappatte during the E Power Forum
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Whereas China registers 20% of its sales as done online, Africa only has 1% one over the internet and electronic commerce. The opportunity herein, as notes Abigail Bundi, Co-founder and CEO Amari Consulting Ltd, is huge and untapped.

In a bid to enhance the growth of e-Commerce, Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) hosted other industry players in the Radisson Blu hotel Nairobi, to help boost the access of manufacturing SMEs to local and international markets through e-commerce in an event dubbed the E-power forum.

E-commerce uptake in Kenya still remains low despite its immense benefits, noted Ciiru Waithaka, KAM Board Member and SME Hub Chair. Further adding  that the increased attention on SME growth, both at a national and global scale, points to a reckoning that the future of business hinges on their success.

“The unique and dynamic nature of SMEs in the manufacturing sector calls for an adaptive approach in developing policies and interventions that most importantly centres their needs and proposed solutions in the process. Our partnership will enable us to develop locally rooted, user-driven e-commerce solutions for manufacturing SMEs to drive their global competitiveness. It is through partnerships such as these that we can grow small and medium industries to be substantial players in our country’s vision for sustainable economic growth,” she added.

The partnership brought together players like Jumia, Amari, DHL and GroFin among others, sought to promote the uptake of e-commerce by SMEs to enable them to gain access to global markets and new international customers and reinventing their business models to align with changing technologies.

“Our mission is to leverage technology to grow markets and build marketplaces that solve everyday problems. E-commerce is a fast-growing, low-cost sales channel,” said Jumia Kenya Managing Director, Sam Chappatte, adding; “We are excited to partner with KAM to support SMEs growth whose uptake, despite good internet connectivity, still remains low.”

On the other hand, Amari Consulting Co-founder, Ms Abigail Bundi noted that the e-commerce space has radically changed the way of doing business globally.

“In Kenya, e-commerce is estimated to be worth more than Kshs 70- 120 billion in the short term and Kshs 400 billion in the long-term, thus presenting lucrative business opportunities. Furthermore, e-commerce will be a catalyst to the achievement of the Big Four Agenda, in which manufacturing is a key pillar. E-Commerce will enable SMEs lower costs, stay competitive and at the same time, go global by harnessing the power of the Internet and scale,” she added.

Also present at the forum was representatives from DHL Express, Andrew Mutuma the  Kenya Country Manager, who noted that International e-commerce is growing at a remarkable pace, and that Kenyan businesses should tap into it for a share of the market while adding value to their e-commerce proposition.

“We’re convinced that cross-border e-commerce has a huge upside that many merchants – B2C and B2B – have not yet tapped. As the international express provider of choice for e-commerce customers, our aim is to support web sellers as they go global,” he said.

KAM recently launched a Manufacturing SME Hub geared towards uplifting micro, small and medium businesses in value addition towards achieving the 15% targeted growth of the sector by 2022.

The Hub advocates for a conducive business environment for SMEs, taking into account their specialized needs and aims to work with partners such as Amari and DHL to develop frameworks that will nurture and encourage their growth. This is coupled with the resources to offer business rescue advice and business diagnostics.

 

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