Kenya Launching New Blueprint to Grow Industries

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The Government has developed a new Industrialisation Blueprint in a bid to improve competitiveness in the manufacturing sector, currently losing out to China and India. Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed is expected to officially launch the blueprint next week outlining a five-point strategy to boost productivity and job creation in the manufacturing sector.

"As government, we are excited to launch this plan that is the platform towards a vibrant future for the significant opportunities in the industrial sector, enterprises and other sectors of the economy," he said.

Mr Mohamed said the new plan builds on ongoing, mid and long-term strategies towards bolstering Kenya's industrial and enterprise development. "Immediate strategy will focus on building Kenya's natural advantages and reforming the regulatory and business environment key for industrial development," he said.

Read more: Kenya Launching New Blueprint to Grow Industries

Sub-Saharan Africa Continues to Remove Barriers to Women’s Advancement: WBG report

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Sub-Saharan Africa is a study in contrasts when it comes to women's economic advancement, says the World Bank Group's Women, Business and the Law 2016 report, released today.

The region hosts almost a third of the world's 30 most restrictive economies and two of 18 economies where there are no legal barriers to women's entrepreneurship and employment, as measured by the report.

And the region continues to make progress towards gender equality, with 16 economies making 18 reforms in the past two years. Sub-Saharan Africa was the greatest reformer amongst all regions of the world, in terms of number of economies undertaking reforms, says the biennial report, which examines legal and regulatory barriers to women's ability to get a job and start a business. The latest edition covers 173 economies across the globe, including 41 in Sub-Saharan Africa, adding Equatorial Guinea; São Tomé and Príncipe; Seychelles; South Sudan; and Swaziland from the region.

Read more: Sub-Saharan Africa Continues to Remove Barriers to Women’s Advancement: WBG report

World Bank releases Sh54bn for Kenya- S. Sudan road

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The World Bank has released over Sh54 billion to fund the laying of fibre-optic cable and the construction of a superhighway connecting Kenya and South Sudan.

The project, which runs concurrently in the two countries, was commissioned Wednesday following the release of the funds.

The fibre-optic cable will be placed along the Lokichar-Nedapal road as the highway is constructed.

South Sudan's ICT minister Rebecca Joshua Okwaci and her Kenyan counterpart Fred Matiang'i signed a memorandum of understanding in January, making way for commissioning of the project.

"The entire project is set to be complete in two years' time, today we are implementing the road and information superhighway that form the most effective way of accelerating development," said Robert Mugo, the director of Shared Services at the ICT Authority.

Read more: World Bank releases Sh54bn for Kenya- S. Sudan road

Counties Partner With Kenyatta University to Train Youth in Entrepreneurship

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Counties have partnered with Kenyatta University to train youth in entrepreneurship.

This follows the launch of the counties' Student Training for Entrepreneurial Promotion (STEP) programme by the university.

The event was a culmination of the first phase of the STEP programme at Kenyatta University in partnership with Kenya National Commission for UNESCO (KNATCOM - UNESCO), Leuphana University and the German Commission for UNESCO.

STEP equips young people with entrepreneurial skills through training to aid them set up and run successful businesses.

Speaking during the launch, Vice-Chancellor, Olive Mugenda noted that the STEP programme has been running for three years at KU through partnership with other organisations and aims at empowering the youth with entrepreneurial skills.

Read more: Counties Partner With Kenyatta University to Train Youth in Entrepreneurship

Italy Offers to Extend and Expand Dept Swap Program

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The Italian Government has offered to extend and expand its debt swap program, a move that will see Sh4.2 billion injected into key socio-economic projects in Kenya.

The decision was reached on Monday at a meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in Rome, Italy.

Under the debt for development swap program, the Government of Italy converted part of its outstanding debt to Kenya to funds that will finance projects in health, education, water and sanitation in high poverty density regions in the country.

President Kenyatta welcomed the expansion and extension of the debt swap program, saying it will go a long way in boosting the Government's efforts to improve the lives of Kenyans.

Read more: Italy Offers to Extend and Expand Dept Swap Program

1st East African Manufacturing Business Summit: Resolutions on Manufacturing

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1. The 1st Manufacturing Business Summit was held in Kampala Uganda at Speke Resort, Munyonyo on 1-2 September 2015. The Business summit was officially opened by Rt. Hon, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, the Prime Minister of the Republic Uganda.

2. The Summit was attended by H.E Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, UNCTAD Secretary General, Amb. Richard Sezibera, EAC Secretary General, Hon. Amelia Kyambadde, the Minister for Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Hon. Adan Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for Industrialization and Enterprise Development, Kenya,Hon. Tabu Abdallah MANIRAKIZA, Minister for Finance Republic of Burundi, Hon. Adam Kighoma Ali MALIMA Deputy Minister for Finance, United Republic of Tanzania, Dr. Joseph Mungarulire, representing the Minister for Trade and Industry, Republic of Rwanda, Mr. Denis Karera, EABC Chairman, Amos Nzeyi, UMA Chairman . The Summit was also attended by Representatives from development partners and regional economic communities (RECs) including: UNIDO, AfDB, CBC, UNECA, AMDC, World Bank, TMEA, GIZ, PTB, COMESA, NEPAD and SADC.

3. The 1st Manufacturing Business Summit was jointly organized by East Africa Community Secretariat and East African Business Council and hosted by the Government of Uganda. The forum ushered in a new dawn in the history of manufacturing in East Africa region as it brought together for the first time all shareholders in manufacturing under one roof to discuss the question of manufacturing and its role in deepening the integration and fostering economic growth in EAC.

4. The forum made the following resolutions on this date of 2nd September 2015:

Read more: 1st East African Manufacturing Business Summit: Resolutions on Manufacturing

EAC Pushes for Long-term Trade Pact with the US to Replace AGOA

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The East African Community is pushing for a long-term preferential trade agreement with the United States that will remove uncertainties surrounding the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).

The five member states have submitted their request to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on the modalities and the time to start negotiations on the pact.

According to EAC Director General of Customs and Trade Peter Kiguta, the USTR is expected to present the request at the next US Congress meeting. If accepted, the region expects to increase the volume of trade and the number of products exported to the US.

"For EAC partner states to expand their trade partnership with the US market, there has to be a reciprocal free trade agreement like the one with the European Union," said Mr Kiguta.

Read more: EAC Pushes for Long-term Trade Pact with the US to Replace AGOA

Plans Underway to Set Up a Huduma Centre in Thika

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Plans are underway to set up a Huduma centre in Thika where members of the public will receive crucial services at a one stop facility.

Addressing county heads at the Kiambu institute of Science and technology yesterday, the chief Operating Officer of the Huduma Centre services Katee Mwanza said plans to roll out the program in region were at an advanced stage.

Speaking during the one day sensitization workshop, Mwanza disclosed that officers who have been identified to work in the facility will undergo one week training at the Kenya school of Government from November 3rd, 2014.

After undergoing training, they would then be deployed to the center, and will begin working on 11th November after proper orientation.

He further moved to assure the public that the upcoming Huduma centers are meant to improve service delivery and not to render some officers jobless as was being rumored.

Read more: Plans Underway to Set Up a Huduma Centre in Thika

Manufacturers Challenged to Raise Product Quality

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Kenyan companies have been challenged to improve their standards in order to compete in the international markets.

According to the African Organization for Standardisation (ARSO) Secretary-General Hermogene Nsengimana, Kenyan products access less than one per cent of the global market share of manufactured products due to low standards.

Dr Nsengimana said Kenyan companies need to start adopting international standards to make them globally competitive.

"International Standards make things work. They give world-class specifications for products, services and systems, to ensure quality, safety and efficiency. They are instrumental in facilitating international trade," Dr Nsengimana said.

Very few Kenyan companies have international certification and according to the Kenya Bureau of Statistics website, only 166 companies are ISO-certified.

Read more: Manufacturers Challenged to Raise Product Quality

Manufacturing Picked Up in August on Obama Visit

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Growth in the manufacturing sector recovered slightly in August on increased production and order backlogs, a monthly survey showed yesterday, following the historic visit by US President Barack Obama from July 24 to 26.

The sector's headline index improved slightly to 55.8 per cent from 54.5 per cent in July, the monthly Standard Chartered-MNI Business Sentiment Indicator released yesterday suggests, marking the first increase since April.

Production increased by 2.4 per cent month-on-month with companies putting growth in the coming months at 3.7 per cent, while order backlogs were up 22.6 per cent, largely coming from a weak base.

Factories reported that new orders rose by a marginal 0.2 per cent, with future growth projected at 2.3 per cent. "US President Obama's visit to Kenya in late July appears to have had a positive impact on sentiment, with the hosting of a Global Entrepreneurship Summit showcasing Kenya to foreign investors," London-based Standard Chartered bank chief economist for Africa, Razia Khan, said in a statement.

Read more: Manufacturing Picked Up in August on Obama Visit

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