KENYA – The Kenyan government has pledged to increase funding to its chief regulatory body, the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), to support Kenyan businesses as they expand into regional markets.
The pledge comes against the background of increased exports by Kenyan firms to regional markets and an agreement that allows countries in East Africa to share quality standards. This means goods certified in Kenya will not need to be retested after export into the region and vice versa.
In a press conference held at Alba hotel, the Industrialization Permanent Secretary (PS), Peter Kaberia, challenged the agency to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) by getting their products certified, as they hold the key to reducing poverty.
As part of the government’s strategy to support SMEs, he said the Ministry is mapping the country’s resources to entrench the One Village One Product model that will ensure equitable distribution of jobs and manufacturing opportunities across the country.
During a visit to the KEBS headquarters, he highlighted that increasing the number of experts at KEBS, and investing in new testing equipment will help Kenya achieve the Big Four Agenda as well as Vision 2030 development goals.
Bernard Njiraini, KEBS Managing Director, said SMEs had increased their requests for certification of their goods, an indication that many are keen to be part of the formal economy. This, he said, has been largely driven by hitches in importing goods due to the effects of Covid-19 and the desire by Kenyan SMEs to expand into the regional market.
He informed that at least 90% of standards support the Big Four Agenda, as reported by The Star.
KEBS undertakes regular quality analysis on SMEs to ensure that their products meet the quality threshold for regional, international markets and therefore promoting innovation, trade and quality of life for Kenyans. This helps realize the Big Four Agenda.