East Africa’s Small and Medium enterprises operators through their leaders have expressed fear that if the East Africa Community (EAC) member countries don’t come to their financial aid, the annual expo is threatened to fold up.
“The budgetary support to this only major activity that brings together thousands of East Africans has been declining over the years . We kindly request you (referring to the presidents of partner states) to support this regional initiative from summit level to protect it from collapsing,” said Josephat Rweyemamu the chairman of the East African confederation of Informal Sector Organization (CISO)
I am amazed that when we are here all our leaders are happy to associate with the expo but when they are actually contributing nothing towards its substance, turning us into beggars to whomever can support us to make sure we can postpone collapse for another year and that is how we have gotten here. He added.
They made the appeal last week during a function to launch the 17th Jua Kali/Nguvu Kazi Exhibition held at Kampala Capital City Authority grounds under the theme “Buy East African MSEs products to build East Africa”
Responding to the call, the permanent Secretary of Uganda’s Ministry of East African Community Affairs Edith Mwanje Nsajja called on the member states to give a hand in supporting the annual and rotational expo
“There is no doubt that this annual regional expo deserves budgetary support from partner states. The message is timely am sure all of us have heard it and the next thing will be to begin considering including it in budgetary plans in the future. ” Mwanje said
The Chief Executive of Kenya’s Micro and Small Enterprises Authority Patrick Mwangi is one of the exhibitors who confirmed and shared Rweyemamu’s fears saying the organizers have been facing hardships each year since British American Tobacco pulled out from supporting them years ago.