Lack of reliable supply chain disadvantage to SMEs


Lack of a reliable supply chain in the country has worked to the disadvantage of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) most of who are at the mercy of unscrupulous middlemen to broker deals for them.

The SMEs say the middlemen end up making a lot at their expense.

To address this, Invest in Africa, which is a not-for-profit organization working in partnership with both private and public sector companies, has unveiled an online technology platform that directly connects buyers to vetted suppliers.

Kenya is viewed as East Africa’s financial powerhouse owing to its vast investment opportunities, uptake of technology and its wealth of resources as well as human capital.

This has precipitated the steady growth of Small and Micro enterprises.

Among challenges that SMEs face are accessing credit and securing businesses especially from large organizations.

Most SMEs are currently forced to rely on middlemen to source for them contracts, which comes at a cost, sometimes very heavy cost.

This is due to lack of an official and reliable supply chain mechanism in the country that links companies to suppliers.

Invest in Africa which is a not-for-profit organization formed to identify and tackle challenges of doing business in Africa has identified this gap and developed an online platform as a solution.

The African Partner Pool directly connects buyers to vetted suppliers.

The use of this APP is expected to eliminate the need for SMEs to engage intermediaries in securing contracts hence ensure that they do business sustainably and efficiently.

Investors are concerned about the polarized political climate ahead of the fresh presidential election that they say is hurting business activities and investment attractiveness of the country.

A survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics released early this year indicated that about 400,000 micro, small and medium enterprises do not celebrate their second birthday due to a number of challenges such as limited market access, poor infrastructure, inadequate knowledge and skills and failure to embrace technology.