How Kenya’s informal craftsmen are benefiting from Standards body

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The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) is spearheading a countrywide inter-agency initiative targeting stakeholders of Kenya’s informal craftsmen popularly known as Jua Kali to unlock barriers hindering their growth. KEBS, whose key mandate is to ensure standards are adhered to while ensuring fair and just trade, is working with the Kenya Revenue Authority, Anti-Counterfeit Authority, Export Promotion Council, KenInvest and Youth Enterprise Fund.

In the past stakeholders mainly from the Kenya National Federation of Jua Kali Association have cited tough regulations that introduce layers of red tape across government agencies as huge barriers to their survival.

“We are cognizant of the key role the MSME sector plays in Kenya’s economy. These forums are important to not
only understand their challenges but also explore ways of working across agencies to create an enabling environment anchored on simplified procedures and regulations,” said Dr. Henry Rotich, Director of the Metrology and Testing Division at KEBS.

He adds, “For us to be able to accelerate our key mandate that includes offering the standardization marks for those who comply with regulations, we need to offer support and empower MSME’s to unlock their full potential. In return, this will facilitate good trade practices.”

Dr. Rotich also challenged industries and enterprises in the Jua Kali sector to work closely with government agencies like Anti Counterfeit Authority, Youth Enterprise Fund and Kenya Revenue Authority to ensure good business practices and fair trade.

According to Dr. Rotich, the innovation workshops across the country will not only accelerate sustainable growth in manufacturing but also create job opportunities that will spur economic growth in the country.

Doris Mbinda, a Jua Kali entrepreneur who was exhibiting jewelry during the workshop, called upon the government agencies to support startups with financial capital in order to produce high quality products. So far KEBS has held workshops in all the eight regions that include Garissa, Nakuru, Eldoret, Mount Kenya (Nyeri),
Eastern and Nairobi with an aim to empower the MSME’s with knowledge on business processes, standardization
and industrialization.

Read also: Toyota partners with TVET to up-skill Kenya’s Jua kali technicians

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