The CEO of the East African Confederation of Informal Sector Organizations (EA-CISO), James Njoroge, has
blamed EAC partner states for doing little to find markets for locally produced products.
Njoroge made the remarks during the 12th East African Jua Kali Exhibition that is underway in Kampala,
“The governments are not helping this sector. Our people are getting a raw deal because they are exploited
by middlemen who buy their products cheaply and sell them at exorbitant prices on lucrative international
markets like China,” he said.
Njoroge particularly said that there was urgent need for governments to invest in developing products
produced in the informal sector like packaging as well as enhancing capacity of the artisans on finding
“The finishing of the products is still very poor, and assistance in this direction should come in form of
finding markets and understanding the tastes of the international markets,” Njoroge added.
Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Uganda, Frank Mugambage, called on East Africans to change their mindset and
appreciate that their own products are of high quality.
“There should be sensitization exercises aimed at educating our people to appreciate products that are
locally produced,” Mugambage said.
After touring various pavilions erected by over 500 exhibitors, Mugambage commended the artisans for coming
together to share experiences, adding that this also enhances competition which leads to better quality
Exhibitors received professional advice on key topics such as opportunities offered by the EAC Common
Market Protocol, how to invest in East Africa, public procurement procedures/requirements and accessing
markets through retail outlets.
The event, organised by the regional bloc in collaboration with the Partner States and the CISO, is held
annually on a rotational basis.