KENYA’s Economy is set for a major boost following the introduction of Clustering as one of the ways of enhancing national competitiveness and productivity. This will be derived through six clusters spread across the key sectors in the country.
The National Economic and Social Council (NESC) in collaboration with Swedish Development and Cooperation Agency (SIDA), K Group and the Pan African Competitiveness Forum Kenya Chapter organized a cluster facilitators’ workshop at KCB Leadership Centre Karen, Nairobi from 4th to 8th July 2011. The participants included stakeholders from different sectors like Government Ministries, Private sector, media and others from Ethiopia where they were presented with certificates of participation. Over 45 facilitators were trained and will be responsible of implementing the cluster initiative and training others. The Kenya Flower Council was represented the workshop.
The concept of clusters refers to a geographical concentration of vertical or horizontally linked firms engaged in related lines of business together with supporting organizations.
According to Eng. Abdulrazaq Adan Ali, CBS, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Trade, cluster framework offers the opportunity to access knowledge, reduce research and development costs, achieve economies of scale, cluster skills and a qualified labour force, solve common problems and reduce costs due to geographical proximity and increased interaction with one another. The clusters will be the drivers for innovation. It’s an initiative adopted by the Government to improve competitiveness and help actualize the goal of rapid industrialization as envisaged under vision 2030.
The six priority clusters developed include:
1) Horticulture in Naivasha and Limuru
2) Transport and Logistics at Port of Mombasa
3) Coast beach Tourism
4) Beef in Garisa
5) ICT in Nairobi
6) Inland Fisheries in Kisumu
When delivering his key note address, Eng. Ali when said the piloting on the six clusters would begin immediately as the Government has put in place the necessary infrastructure to ensure a smooth implementation.
The thrust of the clusters is innovation as a driving force for competitiveness. Challenge driven innovation has seen value addition in various industries in Tanzania and Uganda where cluster business initiative has been on going.
The overall goal of the workshop was to train cluster facilitators who will drive the development of selected national priority clusters in line with the national strategy of enhancing private sector growth and national competitiveness. Cluster strategies have been deployed by developed and developing nations to create sustainable economic growth around the globe. The Kenya Government has adopted the cluster strategy as one of the key strategies to actualize Vision 2030.
According to Julius Muia, Secretary NESC, Cluster Initiatives will go a long way in helping achieve the Millennium Development goals. The common objectives include expansion of existing firms, facilitation of higher innovativeness and technology, promote exports, foster networks, create brands, and enhance education and training.
Within the horticulture cluster the facilitation team will start with the flower sector whereby the sector players will be involved in the cluster formation logistics. They include flower growers, small scale growers, flower vendors, breeders, agrochemical, logistics, packaging companies among others.