Kenyan varsity to train South Africa traders on innovation, technology

The South African traders at Zetech University's Mang'u Campus on Monday / Photo By Kamau Njoroge

Over 100 informal traders and micro enterprises starters from South Africa have begun a five-day innovation and technology training in Kiambu County that aims at helping them to grow their businesses and increase their turnover.

Organized by the Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority (WRSETA), a South African parastatal, the informal traders who are among the contributors to the country’s economic growth will undergo marketing, customer care, hygiene and food safety regulations training at Zetech University.

Under the programme that includes business skills training, consisting of mentorship and coaching after the immersion into Kenya’s informal trade market, the traders are expected to contribute to the broader economic sustainability of South Africa by growing small businesses to create much-needed jobs and strengthening rural and township economies.

According to Mninwa Johannes Mahlangu, South Africa’s High Commissioner to Kenya, informal traders play a pivotal role in both Kenya and South Africa’s economies alongside regional economic integration.

“Informal cross-border trade contributes to regional integration from below because they move and distribute goods across borders. They contribute to development, poverty alleviation and attain food security,” said Mahlangu.

Under the South African Informal, Traders Development programme, the high commissioner noted that bilateral relations between South Africa and Kenya will be enhanced

“It will give effect to the number of Bilateral Agreements and MoUs we have signed since the establishment of our bilateral relations. I would therefore like to wish this collaboration and indeed this partnership, every success and avail the South African High Commission to assist where we possibly can,” he stated.

Beatrice Inyangala, the Principal Secretary in charge of Higher Education and Research who graced the launch urged universities to work closely with corporates and government to have robust academic-industry linkages locally and globally.

“I would want to acknowledge the steadfast and robust relations between our two countries. Kenya and South Africa share a lot in common ranging from culture, history, people, business, and education among others. Recently, the 5 Heads of Government from the countries agreed on a raft of measures to enhance our diplomatic ties. I am sure the delegates from South Africa did not apply for any Visa to attend this training. This is a demonstration of how the two governments remain cognisant of the need for free movement among their people especially within the continent,” stated Inyangala.

On their part, Zetech University vice Chancellor and Kiambu County CEC in charge of trade Prof. Njenga Munene and Nancy Gichung’wa noted that the new initiative will not only capacitate the informal traders on entrepreneurship skills but will also broaden their focus on technology and innovation.

The two noted that with empowerment, the informal sector has the capacity to alleviate poverty by creating numerous job opportunities and in turn help grow economies to greater heights.

“Kenya is a blessed nation and we have come a long way to become a benchmarking country for South Africans. Their presence here shows the level with which we have embraced technology and innovation. As a university we have not been left behind in providing solutions to challenges facing the informal sector as this is the starting point of a better economy,” noted Prof. Munene.

Gichung’wa at the same time noted that Kiambu County was set to receive and help investors grow their enterprises in various sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and trading.

She called on locals and foreigners to grab the numerous opportunities existing in the vast county that she upheld has the capacity of solving challenges bedevilling the county and the country at large.

“Kiambu is open for business. We are ready to help our entrepreneurs go about their activities with ease and with fewer interruptions because we believe it is the informal sector that can help us create jobs, fight poverty and grow our economy,” said Gichung’wa.

By Kamau Njoroge

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