The government should facilitate the private sector's foray into the regional market in order to strengthen Kenya's presence in regional business arena, the national trade lobby chairman Kiprono Kittony said yesterday.
The chairman of Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry urged the government to partner with the private sector to help explore business opportunities in the 11 member countries that make up the Great Lakes Region.
"As Kenya gears to become a middle income country, it will be faced with immense challenges of competition unlike in the past when it was eligible for key export markets based on its status, thus government support for business will be handy,"said Kittony at forum to deliberate on how to promote Kenyan trade in the Great lakes region.
The Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Karanja Kibicho called on more local businesses to participate in the mining sector which is attracting interest by and large from international investors.
"We would like to see more involvement of the local private sector in the mining industry, where minerals such as oil and gases are being discovered," he said.
He also challenged Kenyans to be proud of locally manufactured goods before recommending them elsewhere.
"We need a change in our mindsets,and consume more of our products even before exporting them,and as Kenyans we need to think of ways we can supply our products to those countries that neighbour us, so as to compete favourably against products that are imported to some of these nations from the international market," he said.
Phylis Wakiaga from the Kenya Association of Manufacturers said challenges occasioned by transport delays and insecurity fears for both goods and people, as well as strains caused by poor infrastructure discourage smooth business among member states.