The Kenya Industrialization Conference kicked off in the capital on Monday, aligning with Africa Industrialization Day, a landmark initiative established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989.

The three-day event serves as a pivotal platform for experts from academia, industry, and development partners, converging to propel Kenya's industrial agenda.

Rebecca Miano, the cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Investments, Trade, and Industry, highlighted the significance of the inaugural expo, showcasing over 100 exhibitors presenting cutting-edge industrial machinery designed for processing Kenya's abundant natural resources.

"We want to leverage the expo to reverse the decline of the manufacturing sector," Miano asserted.

Recent data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics reveals a decline in the manufacturing sector's contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP).

In 2022, it constituted 7.8 per cent, down from 8.4 per cent in 2018, underscoring the urgent need for interventions to revitalize this pivotal economic segment.

This alarming trend prompted the emphasis on revitalization during the conference.

Lynette Luvai, Deputy Representative of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to Kenya, stressed the transformative impact of industrialization on economic growth, job creation, poverty reduction, and societal advancement.

Luvai emphasized the need for concerted efforts to harness industrial potential for sustainable development.

Meanwhile, Juma Mukhwana, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Investments, Trade, and Industry, addressed the sobering reality of African nations' suboptimal performance in manufacturing value added to GDP.

Despite industrialization being a prominent campaign promise across the continent, Mukhwana acknowledged the pressing need for more effective strategies to translate rhetoric into tangible economic progress.

As the Kenya Industrialization Conference unfolds, it stands as a crucial initiative, aiming not only to reverse the decline in the manufacturing sector but also to lay the groundwork for a robust, diversified, and sustainable industrial landscape in Kenya.

aThe convergence of expertise and commitment at this event signals a collective determination to drive economic resurgence through strategic industrialization measures.