Nairobi, 12 November – Five Kenyan SMEs are exhibiting at the Arab International SMEs Conference and Expo (SMEX ALGERIA), which will be held from the 12th to the 14thth November 2022 in Algiers, Algeria.
This follows an invitation from the Arab Union for Industrial Exports Development to the Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency (KEPROBA) inviting SMEs from Kenya to be sponsored to attend the SME Expo. KEPROBA thus facilitated sponsorship, mobilized and coordinated SMEs in selected sectors to represent Kenya at the Expo.
The event is organized by the Arab Union for Industrial Exports Development (AUIED) and the Algerian Fairs and Exportation Company (SAFEX) with the aim of building a “display, trade, exchange and cooperation” platform for SMEs at home and abroad, to improve understanding, strengthen cooperation, expand exchanges and seek common development for Arab SMEs and their overseas counterparts.
The five companies selected and promoted include Mathara Holdings, which exports coffee; Ohana Family Wear, which makes humble swimwear ideas for Islamic countries; Miyonga Fresh Greens, which exports fresh and dried fruits, herbs and vegetables; Stawi Foods and Fruits, which specializes in milling grains and dried fruit to create nutritious pre-cooked and fortified flours; and Melvin Marsh International, known for tea exports.
Criteria for selecting participating companies include the suitability of a company’s products or services for target markets; Business potential of the company on the market and compliance of the applicant company’s goals and objectives with the specified scope of the event.
While KEPROBA aligned the SMEs to the West African market, she also informed the exhibitors on how to best represent Kenya and seize the opportunity to expand their market access and open up more opportunities for more exports to West Africa.
“This expo is indeed an opportunity for you to increase your market share in West Africa and for us it is an opportunity for Kenya to increase its brand awareness and recognition. You have the opportunity to use this expo to build new partnerships and networks and improve your market access in the region,” said Dr. Wilfred Marube, CEO of KEPROBA, during the exhibitor briefing session.
Kenya maintains good bilateral relations with Algeria. The country’s export to Algeria was below USD 1 billion in 2017-2021.
“This gives us the opportunity to explore the Algerian market and its untapped potential,” added Dr. Marube added.
The Arab International SMEs Conference & Expo (SMEX Algeria) is expected to bring together approximately 60,000 business owners and bring potential investors and buyers together in one place, creating business-to-business interactions and transactions and promoting emerging SMEs
“We as Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency will continue to support you with relevant training and export market information to enable you to enter such markets,” said Dr. Marube.
Macro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) contribute around 40% to Kenya’s GDP, although most of them fall into the informal sector. Of the 7.41 million MSMEs in Kenya, only 1.56 million are licensed while 5.85 million are unlicensed.
The high number of unlicensed SMEs is an indication of the favorable environment that Kenya creates for emerging businesses with the aim of making them productive and profitable at local, regional and international levels. SME-specific strategies in Kenya will open up small businesses in the short and medium term.
KEPROBA supports SMEs with training courses on export readiness, market access and involvement in international markets.
The agency is currently developing an exporters directory listing all exporters in Kenya, their contacts, key products, key export markets and everything to facilitate buyers’ access.
International trade fairs such as the Arab International SMEs Conference & Expo (SMEX Algeria) offer up-and-coming SMEs in Kenya and Africa the opportunity to compare their products with other SMEs. SMEX Algeria is specifically tailored for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by serving as a networking and product showcase platform while opening and expanding new market boundaries in today’s competitive world.