THE World Bank's support to small and medium enterprise industries to promote value addition has ended after a seven year program run under the Ministry of Industrialization. The initiative dubbed the MSME competitiveness project was officially closed yesterday amid reports of low donor fund absorption and complexity in project execution.
The project gave technical assistance to select industries like leather, and cotton which led to achievements such as establishment of the Leather Development Council and automation of coffee records at some select cooperative societies to reduce fraud.
The MSME project also embarked on identification and training of new manufacturing business ideas under the jitihada business plan competition. "There was a lot of concern over the $6.6 million that was returned to the World Bank but the absorption of funds is structured in such a way that you can only use it for a particular process and this particular money was for TA (technical assistance)," said Industrialization Permanent Secretary Karanja Kibicho. By building the capacity of local manufacturers to enable then improve the value chain for their products, the project said it created 3000 extra jobs in the sectors it covered against a target of 2500.