Kenya launches business hubs to help importers

25 March 2021

Kenya has opened a new “one-stop shop” that provides access to several critical infrastructure and logistics services for SMEs in its coastal region.

Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has opened the business centre in Mombasa. It will target small-scale importers and exporters.

The government plans to rollout the hubs – dubbed “Biashara centres” – across the country to provide essential government services including tax compliance and SME loans under one roof. 

One of the hubs has already opened in capital Nairobi.

Kebs expects the Mombassa hub will provide import and export services to more than 2,500 traders who previously had to travel to Nairobi to access services.

The centre aims to make importation and exportation of cargo easier and cheaper for traders.

The Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and Enterprise Development said it was working with Kebs to eliminate logistical and administrative challenges for traders who have to obtain public services in multiple locations.

The Mombassa Biashara centre also houses laboratory facilities for product certification so that samples no longer need to be sent to Nairobi for analysis.

Government agencies to be represented in the centres include the Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Accreditation Service, Kenya Industrial and Development Institute, the Micro and Small Enterprises Authority, and Kenya Industrial Estates.

Other services governing SMEs and training on production, product certification and systems accreditation will also be housed in the hubs.  

Benard Njiraini, Kebs managing director, told Business Daily: “We recognise the significant role MSMEs will play in post Covid-19 economic recovery and the urgent need to address obstacles limiting growth of MSMEs in the country.

“With the new Biashara Centre, MSMEs can now access services from public institutions in the entrepreneurial ecosystem under one roof in a timely and effective manner.”

SMEs contribute around 40% of Kenya’s GDP, with most of them in the informal sector.

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