The Netherlands Trust Fund III (NTF III) Export Sector Competitiveness Programme, a three-year, multi-phase Dutch-backed project with the International Trade Centre (ITC), has completed the company selection process for the projects in Kenya and Uganda.
33 Kenyan and 30 Ugandan companies were chosen based on a criteria that focused on their perceived ability to benefit from the NTFIII training and advisory services. Relevant criteria included, but was not limited to, the financial soundness of the company, export experience and strategy, and market presence.
The NTFIII will sponsor specific initiatives to boost export competitiveness of the IT and ITES (IT enabled services) sectors in Kenya and Uganda is focused on companies both large and small that have either already taken steps to export or are poised to join the export market. The NTFIII company pool for Kenya and Uganda includes product start-ups, software development, and services companies.
The NTFIII projects in Kenya and Uganda are breaking new ground for the NTF program as a whole by the inclusion of start-ups in the company pools.
East Africa’s web and mobile application development activity is frequently covered in the business press and this attention is well-deserved for the creativity and initiative it has shown.
“The results of this project should be an increase in IT and ITES exports from both Kenya and Uganda, along with a strengthened capacity among the trade support institutions that will provide continued growth after the program has ended,” said Olivier Naray, Programme Officer of the NTF III Programme.
He added that this will mean an increased ability in both countries to create and maintain jobs in these sectors.
Much of the effort in the project is focused on training and B2B outreach for the companies selected. Working with this selected pool of companies, the NTFIII will provide appropriate training and advisory services for enhancing export capability such as building business plans, developing appropriate market research, accessing finance, and direct B2B sales expertise.
“This gap of applied skill is preventing many talented Ugandan and Kenyan companies from both exploring potential export markets as well as from developing a seed idea into something more sustainable,” noted Mr. Naray.
“The NTFIII Kenyan and Ugandan projects aim to specifically address these gaps for the start-ups as well as for the larger organizations in their company pools.”
The project is being implemented along with Trade Support Initiatives from the two countries, including the ICT Association of Uganda (ICTAU) and Uganda Business Process Outsourcing Association (UBPOA).
ICTAU Chairman, Simon Kaheru urged “everyone” to “take the the project seriously”.
“This project is key to enhancing the competitiveness of the indigenous, home-grown Ugandan ICT sector and enabling us to scale up internationally. We have high hopes that it will have an impact on our members, indirectly including those who may not be part of the initial group chosen to participate. We urge everyone in the ICT sector to take it seriously,” said ICTAU Chairman Simon Kaheru.
Featured Image: Partners in the NTF III project from Kenya and Uganda in a work-planning session in Dubai last year. Photo: Albert Mucunguzi/PC Tech Magazine