Dr Wilfred Marube
CEO KENYA EXPORT PROMOTION AND BRANDING AGENCY
The Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency (BrandKE) is a State Corporation established under the State Corporations Act Cap 446 through Legal Notice No.110 of August 9th, 2019 after the merger of the Export Promotion Council and Brand Kenya Board. The BRANDKE’s mandate is to implement export promotion and nation branding initiatives and policies to promote Kenya’s export of goods and services.
With a tagline of Inspiring Global Trade coupled with a vision to transform Kenya into a Top Global Brand, the three main pillars which forms the agency’s mission is to Brand Kenya, Export Kenyan, Build Kenya.
Core values of BrandKe are:
- Customer Centric
- Passionately Kenyan
The Country is implementing the Vision 2030 and the Big Four Agenda that seeks to transform Kenya into a newly industrialized economy at upper middle-income economy. Towards this, Kenya seeks to grow her exports by 25% to enable manufacturing sector grow to 15% share of gross domestic product. Kenya is implementing the Big Four agenda and thus the role of BrandKE is to promote Kenya Country Brand and spur Kenya Exports globally, contributing to the increase in exports by 25% annually as per the National Exports Development and Promotion Strategy.
Thanks to the efforts of BrandKe, Kenya has recorded a 15.5 per cent increase in total exports for the months of January to August 2021. Total exports stood at KES 490 Bn from KES 424 Bn recorded during the same period in 2020.
This is largely owed to the country’s effort to decrease its dependence on volatile agricultural markets. Kenya is diversifying its exports, adding horticultural products, clothing, cement, soda ash, and fluorspar as other key export products aside from agricultural products.
“The growth of exports by a 15 percent margin shows Kenya is a resilient trade partner with the world. The easing of COVID-19 Pandemic restrictions in our export destination markets has also been a blessing,” says Dr. Wilfred Marube, Chief Executive Officer, Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency.
Some of the top export markets for Kenyan products include Uganda, Netherlands, USA, UK, Pakistan, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda as well as Egypt.
Key export products include horticulture, tea, apparel and clothing, coffee, mineral ores, petroleum oil products, animal and vegetable fats, machinery and parts, iron and steel products as well as pharmaceuticals.
Kenya’s exports grew into the following markets in 2021 compared to July-August 2020: U.S.A (Kshs 3 billion), Ethiopia (Kshs 2.5 billion), Tanzania (Kshs 2.3 billion), Netherlands (Kshs2 billion), Japan (Kshs 1.6 billion), U.A.E. (Kshs 1.5 billion) and China (Kshs 1.4 billion).
With the just ended 6 months Expo happening in Dubai, Kenya is banking on the opportunities presented at the expo to increase its exports to the UAE and the entire GCC region. The country is among 192 countries who participated in the expo and showcased its best in tourism, trade, investments, culture, sports among other key aspects.
“This Expo was our gateway to grow our exports not only to GCC region but to the rest of the world. In order to facilitate more business people to attend the expo, we secured a position at the global village (outside the expo site) dubbed Kenya House where enterprises showcased their products and services,” Dr. Marube stated, adding, “We developed a website whereby those who could not be able to ship their products, got the opportunity to exhibit their products online.”
So far, over 34 MSMEs benefitted from a program dubbed World Market Initiative, through which their products ranging from cultural artifacts, tea, honey, coffee was freely shipped to the expo for showcasing.
The Agency is also keen to embrace digital platforms in promoting Kenya exports and linking Kenyan exporters to international markets. “As an Agency charged with promotion of Kenya exports in the global markets, we have had to re-look at our promotion models and take advantage of information technology to ensure that we deliver on our mandate. Export promotion is not just about exhibiting. It is also about offering A-Z support to exporters and linking them to markets, and this is exactly what we continue doing as we turn to digital models,”.
As such, the Agency has also partnered with other global ecommerce platforms like Alibaba, TradeLing.com, and Dubuy.com where Kenyan exporters can register and exhibit their products.
With these partnerships, the Agency is supporting exporters to penetrate untapped markets, link new buyers to Kenyan made products while also giving ample space for research on Kenyan products, and online purchases from buyers in different countries. The exploitation of digital space is also to increase awareness and penetration of Kenyan products hence increasing the target market share much to the benefit of Kenyan exporters.
Additionally, the Agency is setting up a robust e-portal platform that will link Kenyan exporters to buyers from across the world. The fully integrated and interactive portal provide exporters, buyers and sellers an opportunity to showcase and trade their products globally. It is also a reservoir of information for various stakeholders to influence trade, investments and positive nation brand.
Dr. Wilfred Marube is a focused and highly motivated practitioner and researcher in the field of communications management. He has made tremendous contribution to the public relations industry. As the CEO of Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency (KEPBA) since June 2020, Dr Marube’s vision is to see Kenya having grown its exports beyond 25 percent annually, as reflected in the 3-year strategic plan that the institution has put in place.
KEPBA being a marketing agency with a huge mandate, cannot achieve its mandate without collaborations. “We see ourselves as enablers and have had engagements in areas of mutual interest with key stakeholders and partners. We want to hunt as a pack and are, therefore, keen to partner with all trade promotion organisations such as Kenya Tourism Board, Kenya Association of Manufacturers, Kenya Private Sector Alliance, Kenya Flower Council and Avocado Society of Kenya”.
Dr. Marube’s key approach is summarized in what he refers to as RE-VI-DO (Relevance, Visibility and Dominance) a mantra he is inculcating as a reflection to his staff members in a bid to build authority in the export sector.
At 47- years, Dr. Marube wears many hats; leading a parastatal, leading a member organisation, in academia, a parent, a gym enthusiast, and a seasoned public servant who has worked in the public service all his professional life. He is the immediate past President of Public Relations Society of Kenya (PRSK), a member of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management Board.
Dr Marube has also developed and reviewed communication strategies for public institutions. He is a qualified trainer and has lectured at the Strathmore University, Strathmore Business School and has trained for but to name a few, Kenya School of Monetary Studies, Kenya School of Law, Chartered Institute of Public Relations, and AFROSAI-E in Pretoria, South Africa.
He is a graduate of Moi University (Bachelor’s and PhD programmes) and Egerton University (Masters) and regularly contributes articles in the media on the area of communication and public relations.
Dr Wilfred Marube is 2022 BUSINESS MONTHLY EAST AFRICA TOP 25 MOST INFLUENTIAL CEO IMPACTING BUSINESS.