NAIROBI, April 16 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan manufacturers plan to embrace digitization in order to boost the competitiveness of their products in the regional and global markets, the industry lobby said on Tuesday.
Jackson Wambua, policy and research officer at Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), told a forum in Nairobi that automation of business processes will enhance the productivity of local manufacturers.
"Kenyan manufacturers will leverage on digital technologies in order to develop products that are marketable both regionally and globally," Wambua said during the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA-Kenya) forum on digitization in the workplace.
Wambua said that since the liberalization of the economy, local manufacturers have been facing stiff competition from imports.
He noted that Kenya used to be the key source of manufactured products to the east African region but its exports have recorded declines over time.
The contribution of the manufacturing sector to the gross domestic product has declined from approximately 10 percent in 2014 to 8.4 percent in 2017, Wambua said.
"Automation is one of the strategies we will deploy to reverse the decline of the industrial sector," he said.
Wambua noted that despite short-term job losses associated with digitization, the overall impact of automation is positive.
According to KAM, digital technologies result in cost reduction from a number of avenues, including lower labor costs.
The governments can facilitate the transition to automation through fiscal and policy incentives, Wambua said.