Kenya has stepped up its bid to host the 2021 World Chamber Congress. The event brings together global trade bodies, chambers, businesses and high profile government officials to share best practices, develop networks and learn new areas of innovation.

The congress is held on a rotational basis every two years.
A delegation of private sector players last week, led by Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) leader Kiprono Kittony, spearheaded the lobbying at this year’s congress in Sydney, Australia.

Kenya’s bid received a boost after Africa chamber leaders attending the meeting agreed to settle on only one bidder from the continent.
“At the close of the forum, Kenyan Chamber delegates held bilateral talks with Ethiopia and resolved to settle on one bidder from Africa once an agreement is reached at a meeting to be held in Djibouti in December this year,” said the lobby in a statement.
“This will build a strong case for Africa to win a bid for the World Chamber Congress in 2021.”
Previously, the forum has been held in France, South Korea, Canada, South Africa, Turkey, Malaysia, Mexico, Qatar and Italy.

Sao Paulo, Brazil, will host the next conference in 2019.

The 2021 congress is earmarked to take place in either Middle East or Africa. Bidding countries include Kenya, Ethiopia, Dubai, Oman, Jordan and Iran.
“The purpose of such a congress is to allow participants to benefit from networking opportunities. It provides an unparalleled opportunity to connect and strengthen relations with a diverse and international group of individuals representing more than 100 countries,” said the statement from KNCCI.

The Kenyan chamber said the congress would open doors to vast international business opportunities. “Professionals in Kenya would be able to forge meaningful partnerships and connections. This is a fantastic chance to showcase Nairobi and the country at large to positively stimulate the economy,” it said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta backed Kenya’s bid to host the meeting during a visit made by Mr Anthony Parkes, World Chambers Federation (WCF) director.
At the same time, small and medium enterprises are set to benefit from training and financial support to improve their businesses and access markets for their products, according to a new arrangement.

The first phase of the project, a partnership between Equity Bank and KNCCI, Nairobi chapter, will cover thousands of owners of small companies over one year.
It will entail financial literacy, start-up development, advisory services, research assistance, mentoring and networking.
The new initiative follows a meeting between the chamber’s officials and Equity bank, led by chief executive officer James Mwangi last week.

The training, which will primarily target the youth, women and owners of SMEs, will equip participants with skills to start and grow their businesses. Participants will also be taught how to export and import products, succession planning, appropriate staffing and finance sources to grow their ventures.

“The partnership aims at helping these businesses. It will not end at the training phase; we want to grow with them, and help them win at least 30 per cent of tenders in the 47 counties,” said KNCCI Nairobi Chapter chairman Richard Ngatia.

To achieve this, business lobbies and the bank will liaise with various county governments and the national government to offer 30 per cent of tenders to businesses owned and managed by the youth, women and the disabled in line with the national policy.
Poor access to loans has been cited as one of the biggest obstacles to the growth of small companies in Kenya, with lending institutions making prohibitive demands such as provision of title deeds as security, among other documents.

The programme will also focus on management of capital and investments to improve the financial health of targeted businesses.
The bank is a patron member of KNCCI and runs specific programmes targeting SMEs across the country.

Meanwhile, the World Bank will provide support to enhance the investment climate in counties. The support will range from consultancy to improving the counties’ ease of doing business. This was agreed upon during a meeting between the bank’s representatives and KNCCI Nairobi chapter CEO Nemaisa Kiereini.

Source: Business Daily

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