This week, Dr. Wilfred Marube, CEO of Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency (Keproba), your questions.
F. How does your institution support innovative youth to promote their brands? Komen Moris, Eldoret
Keproba’s mission is to create awareness of export markets and products that could do well in those markets; [Provide] export-related information and market intelligence, business capacity building support, market access requirements and opportunities, market linkages and other interventions to enhance export trade participation.
We conduct a range of programs such as product, market development and promotion, branding, market surveys and research, trade consulting and e-commerce aimed at ensuring companies are market-ready.
One of the most popular programs is product development training, which aims to increase the productivity of prospective and existing companies so they can produce market-ready products that are competitive for both local, regional and international markets.
For more information about our support, please visit our website www.brand.ke, by email to [emailprotected] or at our offices in Anniversary Towers, Nairobi.
F. Trade imbalances between Kenya and other countries in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Arab world are a major concern. What is your agency doing to correct this? Dan Murugu, Nakuru City
Kenya is integrated into world trade. As a country, we have our unique needs, which include products that we don’t need to produce and import. Likewise, we have products that we export. The balance of trade therefore differs from country to country and depends on who has more compelling demands.
Kenya aspires to achieve industrialization status through the Big Four agenda see the country exporting processed products while replacing some of the imported products with increased consumption of locally made products. This is the motivation behind the “Buy Kenya, Build Kenya” policy.
Our trade deficit is mostly with China, India, UAE, Saudi Arabia, the European Union and South Africa and Egypt, among others, export capital goods to the USA, while some also buy our products, mainly primary goods such as tea, coffee and horticultural products.
We intend to improve market access to these countries by diversifying the product lines we export there. We have identified 19 products and 22 markets that will help us increase our exports and reduce trade imbalance.
Our priority markets are Germany, USA, China, the United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Somalia, Russia, Pakistan, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Poland, Japan, Italy, Netherlands and the greater African region AfCFTA.
Several agencies in the Departments of Tourism and Trade have mandates to market Kenya abroad. What is the best way to stop the duplication of roles between these agencies? Dan Murugu, Nakuru City
Keproba’s role and mandate is clear with a primary mission to promote Kenyan export products while positioning Kenya globally. Such a broad mandate requires support and synergy with other government agencies in different sectors, the private sector and other partners. The current contribution of export trade to Kenya’s GDP is almost Sh800 billion, underscoring the vital role that this agency and the export sector play in Kenya’s socio-economic development.
< strong> F. Many Kenyans seem to prefer imported products to local ones. Does this mean that the Made in Kenya campaign has failed? Brian Obiero, Nairobi
We deliberately launched the Made in Kenya (and Buy Kenya Build Kenya) campaign to help the Promote acceptance of local products. This is not a one-off commitment, but an ongoing call for inclusion of our local products. To date, the Made in Kenya trademark has been adopted by 239 companies, with over 600 product lines bearing this identity mark. We may not be there yet, but we’ve made significant progress.
Q. How does Keproba use AfCFTA to market Kenya? Farouk Abdul, Nairobi
AfCFTA’s main goal is to create a unified continental market for goods and services with free movement of business and investment and levels thus paving the way for an accelerated establishment of the Continental Customs Union and the African Customs Union.
It also aims to expand intra-African trade through better harmonization and coordination of regulations and Instruments for trade liberalization and facilitation in Regional Economic Communities (RECs) – proposed in Article 3 of the AfCFTA agreement and across Africa.
By increasing regional trade, reducing trade costs and streamlining border procedures, full implementation of the AfCFTA will help African countries increase their resilience to future economic shocks d embark on the deep reforms needed to foster long-term growth.
We also conduct trade missions in high potential markets such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia and Tanzania.
F. How can Keproba use the Safari Rally to make Kenya a haven for foreign investors? Kuria Mwangi, Limuru
The Safari Rally offers us a huge opportunity to market the country. It has boosted not only international tourism but also domestic, pumping more than Sh4 billion into the economy. Over 10,000 spectators attended the event in Naivasha. We see this as an opportunity for the private sector to utilize and invest in the dining facilities in and around Naivasha.
To raise the profile of the event, as As an agency, we propose that Kenyans participate by attending the rally and using their social media platforms and other interactions locally and across borders to spread positive messages about Kenya; Promote Made in Kenya products such as tea, coffee, nuts and beer consumed during the period and increase acceptance of Kenyan products.
F In terms of marketing itself, how has the country recovered from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic? Stephen Lubanzi, Nakuru
Kenya’s export performance showed resilience and growth during the Covid-19 period in 2020, as goods shipped abroad at Sh642 billion lay compared to Sh595 billion in 2019. I can say that Covid-19 has also presented an opportunity to reinvent and identify other new ways of conducting government business. For example, we have learned to make more use of technology to ensure business continuity amid global lockdowns.
For example, our agency has enabled 10 female exporters to exhibit and host and sell them virtually during the 37th edition of Macfrut held in Rimini, Italy where more than US$2.1 million (Shh 247 million) worth of business was achieved during the virtual fair.
Kenya’s position on the proposed global tax deal – the turnover threshold for multinational corporations (MNEs) to be subject to the global minimum tax of 20 billion, scaring off some investors, particularly those with small sales. Don’t you think such a proposal regarding your agency’s mandate will make it more difficult to market Kenya as an investment destination? Habil Kiogora, Stuttgart in Germany
Not at all. Kenya still ranks at the top of the continental list of ease of doing business. The country ranks in the top 50 for ease of doing business. The robust labor market and improved infrastructure in Kenya are key factors that continue to make the country attractive for business.
Kenya has policies and laws that focus on foreign investment relate. On this basis, against a background of competing interests, Kenya will determine what is good for the country to attract investment. We have incentives that are within our laws and any position on taxation will depend on our laws and the consensus within the East African Community.