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AU Department of Trade and Industry discuss with SME Experts on the Plan of action of the Accelerated industrial Development in Arica (AIDA)

A two days’ workshop on the plan of Action of the Accelerated industrial Development in Africa kicks of today, 7th October 2015 at Hilton Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. Organized by the African Union Commission, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the workshop is aiming to bring together relevant practitioners with experience and influence in SME Sector, to learn from the challenges they face and their achievements in supporting SMEs Development. Among others, the ultimate goal of the workshop is to make practical recommendations on how DTI could promote effectively SMEs development.

In his welcoming Remarks, highlighting the importance of the workshop, Mr. Lewell Njehia , Deputy Director, Medium and Large industries, Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development noted the challenges Africa is facing including poor infrastructure, high cost of energy, access to technology, limited access to finance, human capital among others and said ”These challenges need to be from the current global opportunities and emerge as a global opportunities and emerge as a global economic power”. Before his conclusion he went to express his hope that the workshop will provide insight to major challenges facing SMES and said “I wish to urge the participants and experts present here to come up with recommendations that will further transform the support provided to SMEs as of the African states strive to become a middle income and newly industrialized countries”

In the same vein Mrs. Treasure Maphanga , Director of Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission (AUC),welcomed all participants to the workshop and thanked the Government of Kenya for hosting the workshop and for serving as a platform for consultation and brainstorming that will lead to the development of an SME Master Plan. She highlighted that The Small and Medium Enterprises are widely recognized as key drivers of economic growth, innovation, and job creation in Africa because a strong and vibrant SME sector provides a strong foundation for increase in standards of living and reducing poverty amongst the rural and urban populations. However she said “these SMEs are constrained by a number of factors, including, low level entrepreneurship, limited access to stable energy services, limited access to finance for investment, low level business management skills, inadequate business development services, and low skilled labor, to name but few” She later added that “Africa needs to develop technical skills, stimulate productivity, promote investment, provide transport facilities and related infrastructure, upgrade and promote indigenous enterprises, create centers of excellence for technology transfer, reduce the time and cost of doing business and introduce appropriate standards to enable SME products to compete in both regional and international markets” She concluded her speech by expressing her confidence in the continues support of the development partners in the implementation of the Action plan of for Accelerated Industrial development for Africa (AIDA) and the SME Master plan.

The Meeting is being attended by Bureau Member of industry and Mining, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), UN organizations, international institutions, Business associations and private organization.

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