The Kenya Industrialization Conference, which aims to boost the country’s industrial agenda and provide a platform for experts from academia, industry and development partners, began Monday in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.
The opening of the three-day event coincides with Africa Industrialization Day, which was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1989.
Rebecca Miano, the cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Investments, Trade and Industry, said that the first edition of the expo gathered more than 100 exhibitors who displayed advanced industrial machines that can be used for processing Kenya’s natural resources.
“We want to leverage on the expo to reverse the decline of the manufacturing sector,” Miano said.
According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the manufacturing sector contributed 7.8 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2022, down from 8.4 percent in 2018.
Lynette Luvai, the deputy representative of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to Kenya, said that industrialization is a catalyst for economic growth, job creation, poverty reduction and overall societal advancement.
Juma Mukhwana, the principal secretary in the Ministry of Investments, Trade and Industry, said that African countries continue to exhibit dismal performance in terms of manufactured value added to GDP, despite industrialization having been a campaign promise across the continent.