Invest In Africa (IIA-Kenya) in partnership with the Department of Trade, Gender and Youth of the Turkana County Government, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Lundin Foundation, Technoserve, and Tullow Kenya, organized the 2nd annual business forum in Turkana County dubbed, ‘THE TURKANA BUSINESS EXCHANGE FORUM and MSME EXPO 2019.’ This event is a follow-up to last year’s IIA-led event that was held against the background of the Credit Guarantee Scheme (CGS) which has seen IIA-Kenya work with over 125 MSMEs in Turkana through the platform.
The exchange forum and MSME EXPO was conceived as an interactive platform bringing together several actors in the County including County and National Government Ministries and Agencies, private sector entities, business associations, bilateral and multilateral agencies, academia and MSMEs. This interaction aims to position the MSMEs to take advantage of Business Linkage opportunities through networking, showcase MSMEs from Turkana and public-private open dialogue to address key policy issues affecting the business environment in Turkana.
The key objectives of this year’s forum (BEF 2019) were: to provide a platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue – with the Turkana County Government (TCG), on the action areas identified at the previous Business Exchange Forum (BEF 2018) and progress made towards operationalizing the MSME Development Framework; to increase opportunities for public-private partnership for increased investment into Turkana County; to showcase scalable local Turkana businesses for the purpose of creating viable linkages for skills, finance and markets; and to understand the different MSME development initiatives and identify the areas of possible synergies.
This year’s theme is ‘Enhancing MSME Competitiveness for Business Linkages’, focused on the key value chains which carry opportunities in Turkana county. These value chains include; Extractives, Agribusiness, Basketry and Handicrafts, Construction and Fisheries. The other additional areas the forum covered included Refugee Livelihoods and wholesale and retail business.
This year’s forum was attended by 150 participants drawn from the private sector, government, business community, and Media. 43 MSMEs from Turkana County also exhibited at the EXPO. The highlight of this year’s event was the participation of MSMEs from the humanitarian ecosystem from Kakuma/Kaloyebei in Turkana West. IIA’s partners, Kenya Tullow and Equity Bank, facilitated sector discussions on Extractives and Access to finance respectively.
The event was graced by His Excellency, Josephat Nanok, Governor – Turkana County with participation from high-level county ministers. The event brings together several private sector actors, business associations, bilateral and multilateral agencies, academia, the business community, MSMEs and the media.