KNCCI to host regional trade mission for exporting SMEs

SME

Forum hopes to attract investments that will facilitate establishemnt of processing industries for food

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group


Small and medium sized enterprises hoping to reap the benefits of trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) have been invited to register for a trade mission to be held in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo in January next year.

The trade mission, a joint initiative between the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), the East African Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (EACCIA) and the ICGLR Private Sector Forum, will comprise of a regional trade conference, business to business (B2B) interactive sessions and site visits.

 The trade conference will convene the private sector, government officials, development actors and policy makers from Kenya, The Democratic Republic of Congo, other East African countries and the Great Lakes region. It is expected to provide a platform for business networking, exchange of trade opportunities and market information.

Meanwhile, the B2B sessions will be organised between regional businesses to facilitate business matchmaking and networking. In addition, delegates will be accorded an opportunity to visit key industrial companies in the DRC for learning and benchmarking.

“The aim of the Trade Mission is to promote intra-Africa trade and investment with the onset of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The visit will also accord an opportunity to explore investment opportunities in the DRC, being the newest member State of the East African Community (EAC),” noted KNCCI in a statement.

Attract investments

One of the objectives of the mission is to attract investments that will facilitate the establishment of processing industries for food products, minerals and textiles to serve the entire region.

The trade mission will also facilitate business networking, ranging from manufacturers to retailers, suppliers, distributors and exporters. It is also expected to help identify investment opportunities in the DRC and the Great Lakes region.

Further, it is expected to strengthen relations between the relevant chambers of commerce to exchange information on market opportunities, regulatory information, commercial activities, and statistics in both countries.

The mission is also expected to link the business community through the establishment of commercial agreements and trade partnerships between the participating countries. It is also expected to build trade capacities, knowledge, and skills for the SMEs to enhance cross border trade, particularly for women informal cross-border traders, who form the majority of cross-border traders across the East African countries.

“The mission is expected to improve intra-Africa trade, enhance understanding of information on available trade and investment opportunities in DRC and the region, identify new trade markets within the region, and facilitate signing of supply agreements and buyer seller contracts for exporting companies,” noted KNCCI.

The mission targets exporters, importers, investors, cross border traders, marketers and distributors, government officials, policy makers, industry regulators, development partners, and private sector representatives from across various sectors. These include logistics start-ups looking to improve transport services of passengers and freight, agro-processing firms doing local value addition for coffee, meat, cereals, fruits and fish processing as well as cooling plants, and energy firms dealing in solar, geothermal and natural gas.

Textiles industry

The mission will also target stakeholders in the textiles industry to streamline exportation of fabric and clothing from DRC, and mining, to tap into the precious minerals DRC is blessed with such as cobalt, gold, diamond, mineral fuel, tin, and copper that are vital raw materials for manufacturing and automobile sectors in Kenya.

Other businesses targeted are manufacturing firms dealing with export of value-added products such as wood, cement and medical equipment and tourism and hospitality companies doing value addition on beach tourism, resort cities and water sports, as well as development of modern conference and recreational facilities.

The trade mission will also earmark businesses in the financial, innovation and technology sectors, with banks like Equity Bank and KCB Bank having successfully set up in DRC, and mobile payments such as Mpesa having expanded into the new EAC member state.

Further, the trade mission will target stakeholders in the education sector and creatives industry, to facilitate the exchange of university students, as well as setting up of universities and training colleges.

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