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Kenyan Manufacturers Launch Policy Agenda for Industrialization
Edited by Xia Yuanyuan 

Kenya's manufacturers Wednesday launched the Policy Agenda for Industrialization on achieving the economic goals by focusing efforts on the manufacturing sector.

The 10-point manufacturing agenda aims to centralize the economic agenda of this country in current and future political narratives.

Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) CEO Phyllis Wakiaga said the agenda include the need to double jobs, double exports, increase foreign exchange earnings and raise manufacturing share of GDP to 15 percent by 2020.

"The policy agenda will enable Kenyan manufacturers reverse declines of products sales," Wakiaga said. The overall goal of the policy is to create an additional 300,000 jobs in the formal manufacturing sector.

The agenda focuses on sectoral priorities such as: creating a massive export push, raising productivity to world class standards, promoting and leveraging "Buy Kenya Build Kenya," tackling uncustomed goods and counterfeits, and developing a stable policy environment.

Additionally, it makes proposals on job creation through the revamping of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) curriculum in the country and offering apprenticeship.

The bulk of Kenya's manufactured exports are sold to the six member East African Community (EAC) bloc. Government data shows that total exports to the EAC registered a four percent decline in 2016 to 1.2 billion U.S. dollars.

However, manufactured exports to Uganda and Rwanda declined by 9.3 and 2.5 percent respectively. KAM said that export growth is fundamental to the growth and stability of the local manufacturing industry.

Wakiaga said that the share of manufacturing in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has stagnated from 1965 to 2015 but it has now declined to a low of 9.2 percent in 2016.

The sector is targeting to double its output so that manufacturing contributes 15 percent of GDP. The CEO said that for the industry to expand, it needs to access more funding at a lower cost.

Manufacturers have identified lack of access to long term finance as a problem. In order to expand access to long term finance for all types of manufacturing firms, the government should increase the availability of domestic public funds.

(Xinhua News Agency July 5, 2017)

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