On November 27, 2013, ALIN participated at a Stakeholders’ Forum convened by the Kitui County’s Ministry of Trade, ICT, Industry and Cooperatives. This was at the invitation of the Minister in charge of the docket Hon. James Mwinzi Jonah. The Forum, which took place at a Kitui Hotel and was attended by representatives the Ministry of Agriculture, National Ministry of Trade (The Public Private Partnerships Section), banks, local businessmen and range of local stakeholders.
ALIN’s Anthony Mugo, made a presentation titled “Using Information Technology to Access Markets.” It mainly dwelt on Sokopepe, the market information and knowledge management platform developed by ALIN in partnership with the Ford Foundation, which is rapidly gaining popularity. Participants were taken through the steps for registering on the platform; querying commodity prices; and asking for tips on agriculture and livestock keeping.
“It is very interesting to see how technology has made checking prices of commodities so easy,” observed Boniface Mulu, a reporter Kitui-based Community Eye FM (90.3). The Head of Department for the Ministry of Trade at Kitui County, Ms. Jecintah M. Pius encouraged participants to register to Sokopepe. On her part the Head of Cooperatives in Kitui County Ms. Esther Kivindyo, told participants that the County was planning to set up business incubation centres (BICs) in all the sub-counties in Kitui. She therefore welcomed ALIN’s presentation.
The Forum was officially opened by the Kitui County Minister in Charge of the Environment Hon. George Mulatia who represented the Deputy Governor, HE Peninah Malonza. “We want trade of Kitui to grow at same speed as rest of country if not faster,” Hon. Mulatia said in the official remarks.
Kitui County Trade Minister, Hon. Jonah Mwinzi, discusses a point with ALIN's Esther Lung'ahi at his office during a past meeting.
On his part, the Trade Minister, Hon. Mwinzi encouraged Kitui residents to strive to invest in the County and if necessary to form investment groups to avoid a situation where most investment opportunities could end up being taken by people and agencies from outside the County. He singled out tenders for supply of various goods and services noting that not many Kitui residents were bidding for them.
“Some have said that we have not organised investors’ fairs in Kitui County. In our case, we have begun by alerting local stakeholders about existing opportunities for investment before going to outsiders,” he observed. “We are determined to provide Kitui residents with the best chances to take advantage of investment and trade opportunities in their County as a way of improving their economic development.” ALIN plans to explore the possibility of partnering with the Kitui County leadership in areas such as setting up ICT centres, ICT training and supporting integration of ICTs in education.
Story by Anthony Mugo