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African firms seek to boost market share

 Dr Abdu Mukhtar, Director of Industrial and Trade Development AfDB Group, Franziska Hollman, Director of Corporate Finance Africa and Dr Richard Rugendo, Founder and CEO of Kevian Industries. [Courtesy]

Six Kenyan companies are among 24 firms from across Africa that have joined African Hidden Champions (AHC), an exclusive network of companies founded in 2020.

AHC was founded by Africa Foresight Group and German Investment Corporation to promote African companies producing high-quality goods and providing world-class services that are globally competitive but are not well known outside their home markets.

This year’s African Hidden Champions (AHC) Summit bringing together top African business leaders came to a close on September 30 in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

Among the Kenyan companies represented were Nova Pioneer, Twiga Foods, Cellulant, Kevian Industries, Chandaria Group and Dawa Life Sciences.

During the summit, Kevian Industries, one of East Africa’s leading food and beverage producers, was awarded the Eco System Champion Award by AHC which was received by Managing Director Kimani Rugendo.

“A summit like this offers business leaders the crucial opportunity to engage with each other, fostering networks that enable us to overcome barriers when we engage in cross-border trade,” said Mr Rugendo.

AHC summit provides a networking platform for investors in the agri-business, manufacturing and service sectors which are in demand across the world but their market access remains limited within their host country’s borders.

“With this kind of interaction, we are assured of support and assistance in regional and international markets. This will grow our brands to compete with those already known across the globe,” said Rugendo.

Apart from AFG and DEG, the summit is also supported by the African Development Bank, with the business leaders discussing how best to exploit global market linkages available.

The business leaders deliberated on issues around the global future of Africa’s private sector at a time when the world is experiencing great geo-political uncertainty whose changes affect the global business environment.

The business pioneers also discussed the role of business communities in the achievement of Net Zero in Africa, a goal geared towards achieving a balance between the amount of greenhouse emissions and the amounts removed from the atmosphere.

“We hope that AHC will grow and become a centerpiece of Africa’s march towards net zero and demonstrate that Africa is not just waiting for a handout, but is actually an integral part in contributing to net zero,” said Vera Songwe, a co-chair for AHC’s High-Level Panel on Climate Finance.

“In achieving Net Zero, the mitigation measures should be implemented in ways that deliver jobs, prosperity and industrialization of the continent.”

Africa has in the last two years led in the push for more mitigation efforts towards addressing climate change, with Kenya targeting to plant at least 15 billion trees by 2032.

Kenya is also aiming at attaining industrialized country status by investing more in the local manufacturing sector through establishment of cottage industries and county industrial hubs.

AHC also aims at building and retaining African talent for the region’s development and developing more attractive and friendly funding strategies for African business powerhouses.

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