In November 1999, the first annual East African Community Jua Kali/Nguvu Kazi Exhibition was held during the historic signing of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC.
This has since been an annual affair with the upcoming exhibition marking 19 years since it began. This year’s theme the Exhibition is Buy Micro and Small and Medium Enterprises (MSEs) Products, Build East Africa. The event which is slated for 2nd to 10th December, 2018 at the Eldoret Sports Club in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, Kenya will showcase a wide range of products manufactured in East Africa.
This informal sector, according to World Bank review confirms that the informal non-farm sector is an important contributor to economic development in low-income Sub-Saharan Africa as a source of employment, earnings, and household livelihoods.
“Nearly 70 percent of employment outside farming is in the informal sector. A World Bank review of household enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa, “Improving the productivity of informal enterprises” is therefore essential for employment, income growth, and poverty reduction in the region.” The report reads in part.
Jua Kali sector by country
Kenya’s informal sector is large and dynamic – 95 percent of the country’s businesses and entrepreneurs are found here. According to 2015 Economic Survey, the total number of persons enrolled in both formal and informal sectors increased from 13.5 million in 2013 to 14.3 million in 2014, and of the 799,700 new jobs, 700,000 were created by the informal sector.
Uganda’s Jua kali sector a project under the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry (MTTI) and is part of the overall industrialization policy being undertaken by the Government of Uganda, according to Fortune of Africa. The project mainly targets artisans; shoe makers, metal fabricators, carpenters, and tailors among others who operate under poor working conditions especially in terms of infrastructure. About 20% of Uganda’s GDP comes from the Jua Kali sector compared to Kenya the sector contributes to 22% of the GDP, while in Tanzania it contributes 28%.
Fortune for Africa also notes that there are over 47, 000 informal SME’s operating under Jua Kali in Rwanda and contributing about 5% of the total private sector employment. Jua Kali sector has great potential in job creation, poverty alleviation, as well as serving as a good breeding ground for local and regional talents, hence a strong spring board towards economic growth in Rwanda.
EAC Exhibitions empowering Jua Kali sector
The EAC has been undertaking SMEs Development through the East Africa Jua Kali/ Nguvu Kazi exhibition. The exhibition is an annual event that exposes the products manufactured in the region. Organized jointly on a rotational basis by the EAC Secretariat, the East African Confederation of Informal Sector Organisation (EACISO) in collaboration with EAC Partner States, the event brings together artisans from the six (6) EAC Partner States comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
Last year’s exhibition was hosted in Bujumbura, Burundi and attracted 830 artisans from five Partner States – Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan and the host country Burundi – ended with a call by the government of Burundi government to the other EAC Partner States to strongly support the private and informal sector in the bloc.
Speaking during the event’s closing ceremony last year, Burundi’s Assistant Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism, Mr. Nkunzumwami Aimable, said there was need to deliberately support the growth of Jua Kali (informal sector) by giving the necessary and enabling policies that are conducive to enhance opportunities and returns on investment in the informal sector.
Mr. Aimable, who was representing the Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism, challenged the artisans not to wait for another Jua Kali exhibition opportunity in Burundi but to use this opportunity to network and open up stalls in Bujumbura and other parts of the country so that their products can be easily accessed in the country.
“Don’t just sit and wait for the annual exhibitions, venture out and explore opportunities available in all the Partner States”, the governments are ready to support you,” said the Minister to the participants.
This year’s annual exhibition brings together artisans from the East African region for purposes of opening up new market frontiers for their products while bridging the knowledge and technological gaps between them.
According to the Director General Customs and Trade at the EAC Secretariat, Mr. Kenneth Bagamuhunda, the theme portrays the role MSEs are expected to play in the growth and development of the region’s economies. Mr. Bagamuhunda disclosed that so far 1,100 artisans have registered and confirmed their participation at the event.
The 19th EAC Jua Kali/Nguvu Exhibition will be officially opened on 4th December, 2018.
To participate in the Exhibition, exhibitors from Partner States (Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan) are required to register with their respective Confederation of Informal Sector Organizations and Ministries of Trade and Industry, while those in Kenya should register with the Small and Medium Enterprises Authority.
The exhibitions have proved to be strategic avenues for promoting the Small and Micro Enterprises sector’s products, transfer of technologies, and promotion of the regional integration process.
Key Areas of interest in the Jua Kali
During the Exhibition daily symposia will be conducted to build the capacity of the artisans on integration matters as follows:
|1||Cross Border Trade, Simplified Trade Regime and dealing with NTBs||Republic of Kenya||3rd December, 2018|
|2||Products value addition||United Republic of Tanzania||5th December, 2018|
|3||Standards, Quality Assurance, Metrology and Testing (SQMT)||Republic of Rwanda||6th December, 2018|
|4||Benefits and opportunities from the EAC Integration to SMEs||Republic of Uganda||7th December, 2018|
|5||EAC Rules of Origin||Republic of Burundi||8th December, 2018|
|6||MSMES development and opportunities in the Republic of South Sudan||Republic of South Sudan||9th December, 2018|