The Organisation of Women in International Trade (OWIT Nairobi) and Ignite Trade Africa organised a Trade Mission to Kigali, Rwanda, on 22nd-25th May 2018. The Trade Mission featured Women-Owned Businesses in the following sectors:


• Textiles & Apparels

• Real Estate & Construction

• Hospitality & Tourism

• Professional Services

• Manufacturing

• Agribusiness

This Trade Mission was aimed at building linkages and expanding opportunities for women in international markets. SMEs generate approximately 50% of the global GDP and 70% of employment.

The benefits of trade to SMEs and women-owned business are significant. Global Economies would benefit greatly if SMEs and particularly women-owned businesses were more engaged in international trade.

The Trade Mission featured:

1. A B2B Networking Event attended by over 40 participants, the delegates got a platform to build linkages and partnerships that will facilitate trade between Kenyan WOBs and their counterparts from Rwanda.

by Kezy Mukiri

Small and medium-sized Businesses (SMBs) are the economic drivers in many countries, yet they continue to have low productivity and low export volumes.

International trade can spur the growth of SMEs. According to Crispin Simon, “Firms who choose to export become 34% productive in their first year while those already exporting achieve 59% faster productivity growth than non-exporters.”

Many SMEs view international trade as an economic activity that mainly benefits large companies. Exporting allows small firms to reach bigger markets and learn new skills that enhance innovation and increase profitability.

In today’s hyper-connected global economy, the prospect of extending one’s product or service to millions of potential customers stands as a tremendous opportunity for SMEs.

Some of the benefits that come with accessing international markets include:

1. Increased market share: Going global raises your profile above that of your competition through exposure to new markets.

2. More efficiencies, less waste: for SMEs in manufacturing, increasing your market overseas allows for economies of scale, and lower production costs

3. Increased sales/profits

4. Innovation: exposure to new methodologies, strategies and technologies.

Trade is the  major driver for growth and development in an economy.

Here are a few benefits that will help you maximize opportunities to expand regionally & globally; 

  • Nairobi is the transportation hub of Eastern and Central Africa and the largest city between Cairo and Johannesburg. The Port of Mombasa is the most important deep-water port in the region, supplying the shipping needs of more than a dozen countries.
  • Kenya is a member of the East African Community (EAC) with a population of approximately 145 million. It is also a member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) with a population of approximately 400 million. Exports and imports within member countries enjoy preferential tariff rates. EAC Member States have signed a Protocol to establish a common Customs Union.
  • Exports from Kenya entering the European Union are entitled to duty reductions and freedom from all quota restrictions. Trade preferences include duty-free entry of all industrial products as well as a wide range of agricultural products including beef, fish, dairy products, cereals, fresh and processed fruits, and vegetables.
  • Kenya qualifies for duty free access until 2025 to the U.S. market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. Some of Kenya's major products that qualify for export under AGOA include textiles, apparels, and handicrafts.
  • The Government has established the Manufacture Under Bond programme that is open to both local and foreign investors. Enterprises operating under the programme are offered the following incentives: Exemption from duty and VAT on imported raw materials and other imported inputs; and, 100 per cent investment allowance on plant, machinery, equipment and buildings.


About Us

Ignite Trade Africa, provides you with the knowledge and practical advice on regional markets to help you make better, timelier and cost-effective decisions in order to achieve your business goals in Africa.


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