Kenya’s micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are being encouraged to embrace e-commerce as a means of expanding their growth, competitiveness, and market accessibility. Eliud Owalo, the Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communications, and Digital Economy, emphasized the role of the National E-commerce Strategy in broadening the market for micro and small businesses, especially those in rural areas and operated by Persons With Disabilities (PWDs). This strategy provides an expanded market and supply source, eliminating the need for physical travel to distributors. 

Owalo highlighted that this strategy is designed to optimize Kenya’s potential in e-commerce while addressing existing challenges in the field. “Proper utilization of e-commerce can significantly boost economic and social progress by diversifying the economy, creating jobs, and enhancing trade,” he stated. 

Rebecca Miano, the Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry, spoke about government initiatives to digitize MSMEs. This move aims to elevate national productivity and revolutionize the economy through capacity building. “Our goal is to foster a secure e-commerce environment that will enhance MSMEs’ market capabilities both domestically and internationally, leading to increased income and job opportunities for young people,” Miano remarked. 

Miano also pointed out the pivotal role of e-commerce in achieving sustainable Development Goals, which encompasses establishing trust among entrepreneurs through stronger laws, ensuring access to e-commerce and ICT services across all social groups, and implementing policies and laws that reduce border frictions. 

Furthermore, Owalo mentioned the government’s deployment of the National Public Key Infrastructure (NPKI), an electronic system that facilitates the creation, storage, and assignment of digital certificates to individuals, firms, and state agencies. “The NPKI system, upon its full commercialization, is expected to fortify cybersecurity by safeguarding communications and stored data against unauthorized access,” he added. 

The scope of e-commerce’s potential spans various sectors, including education, finance, trade, postal and logistics, telecommunications, and digital innovation zones. It is projected that Kenya’s e-commerce penetration will reach 53.6% by 2025. 

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