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Suitable Decentralized Structures for Trade Associations in Kenya

22nd of May 2014 Kisumu

The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) has partnered with the Kenya Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) in this workshop. The Workshop brought together participants from the local chapter of KCCI in Kisumu, the Kenya mine workers union and student leaders from the Tom Mboya Labour College.

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Decentralization improves governance in public service provision by improving efficiency of resource allocation. Counties are closer to the people than the central government and as result have better knowledge about local preferences. County government is better placed to respond to the diverse needs of local people. The counties therefore narrows down to the social diversity and subsequently the variations of local preferences hence reducing opportunities for conflicts and increases opportunities for trade among the local communities. Decentralization also promotes competition among the sub-local government and thus enhances the chances that the government will respond to local needs. The county government through a policy framework should be able to guide and protect trade in their own counties.

Over-arching of Vision 2030 is a globally competitive and prosperous nation with a high quality of life by 2030. The economic pillar of vision 2030 is to maintain a sustained economic growth of 10% p.a. over the next 25 years but this has been challenged by the slow stabilization of the political and social fabric of the Kenyan nation.

KAS had partnered with the Kenya Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) in this workshop as outlined in the topic above . This brought in participants both from the local chapter of KCCI in Kisumu, The Kenya mine workers union and student leaders from the Tom Mboya Labour College.

Deliberations were kicked off first from understanding the county structures and how the trade unions work and how they can relate. Emerging issues came up as participants shared their expectations for the workshop. The political situation in the country and the hosting county politics has been in play and is blamed for poor relationship between the trade unions and the business community. It emerged that the business community shy away from commenting on governance performance for fear of intimidation or being labeled as overstepping their mandate.

The KNNCI consultant took the participants through the various stages of formation and entrance points where upcoming entrepreneurs may take advantage and be part of the current system of decentralization. Since the county governments are involved in implementation, the business community can take advantage of the opportunities presented and tender their proposals. This creates a platform where the issues of tax regimes can be initiated and discussed.

It was discovered that business people are not usually involved in policy drafting for their input on matters touching on them. Entrepreneurship Students engaged the facilitators as well on how their input can be sought and how they can participate through research and academic work.

Opportunities for Decentralization to promote trade and industry development are:

  • Macroeconomic Stabilization among the population;
  • Equitable income distribution in the counties;
  • Resource allocation to promote grassroots development
  • Stabilized markets and demand due to increased spending at the local level
Way forward and recommendations

  • Promote and enhance Public-Private partnerships to strengthen the impact of trade unions and the county level.
  • Sensitization of various entities on the importance of trade unions
  • Effective public participation in the oversight of public service delivery, there is need to guaranteed access to quality and relevant information to enhance trade and development at the devolved units.
  • Building the capacity of local devolved structures to enact policies that promote trade and strengthened trade associations.
  • Improved investments on infrastructure by the county governments to enhance access to markets and therefore improved growth in trade and development.
  • Institutional capacity development of county level trade unions.

Partridge Mutiso

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