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WRCSafari Rally is back in Kenya after 19 year-hiatus. The global competition has attracted lots of enthusiasm among Kenyans, young and old as the event is expected to unite motorsports enthusiasts in enjoying the thrill of the rally while also enjoying Kenya’s scenic beauty across all the 6 designated rally routes. The event has thus attracted a host of benefits, which also include an influx of local tourists in Naivasha.
The WRC Safari Rally return is much anticipated by Kenyans, event organizers, rally drivers and motorsports manufacturers among them Hyundai, Toyota, Ford and Volkswagen as they wait to test their modern vehicles on the rough Kenyan terrain. The Kenyan government through the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage is giving the event and its organizers all the necessary support to see to it that the WRC Safari Rally has successful return. The rally comeback after almost 2 decades cements Kenya’s position globally as the home of sports ranging from rugby, athletics, volleyball, motorsports among others.
The rally was supposed to make a comeback in the WRC in July 2020 but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic that has affected all sporting events across the world. Nearly all sporting activities in the year 2019-2020 were cancelled or rescheduled as crowding was attributed to be a big factor in increased Covid-19 infections in Sports.
Due to its rugged nature, Kenya’s welcoming, and sporting spirit and unforgiving terrain, the Safari Rally reputation is set to increase tourism activities into the country hence bringing in the much-needed foreign exchange for Kenya’s economy.
The spotlight is now on Naivasha town which is the main section of the rallying circuit. The town is strategically placed powering most of Kenya’s export trade activities. Naivasha is the home to the best, long lasting cut flowers in the world, grown under the sun and exported to the European and Asian markets. The demand for Kenya’s cut flowers in the export market destination increased to a staggering ksh. 108.7b in 2020 as compared to Ksh. 11.4 billion 2019. The town is also the world’s producer of premier source of quality horticultural produce grown by ordinary farmers, in natural and sustainable conditions. Kenya exported Ksh. 122.1b worth of Horticultural products in 2020 as compared to Ksh. 109.5b in 2019. Naivasha also plays host to East Africa’s largest inland container depot (ICD) that is revolutionizing the transport of bulk cargo to the region and other neighbouring countries.
The rally event is projected to inject approximately 6 billion into the Kenyan economy while also creating employment in the service industries such as caterers, local mechanics in the workshops and purchase of locally made products.
By taking advantage of the over 800 million viewers of the World Rally Championship, Kenya is bound to reap big through increased country brand visibility leading to increased inflow of tourists and increased FDI investment to Kenya. We are also bound to enjoy the increased popularity of Kenya as a sports, recreation, business, manufacturing, and education hub in Africa.
The Safari Rally comes barely a month to the onset of the Great Wildebeest migration which is heralded as one of the seven new wonders of the world. It is indeed a great time to be in Kenya to witness the transition from Man versus Machine to Animals versus Nature. The migration is an annual spectacle in Kenya’s Maasai Mara and Tanzania’s Serengeti and boosts thousands of Animals that try to overcome tiredness, hungry crocodiles, lions, hyenas and wild dogs. The sports tourism and nature tourism will give Kenya an edge when it comes to Tourism in Africa and bring about development as part of the revenue earned can be used as a driver towards the realization of the Big 4 Agenda.
As world looks to Kenya this weekend, this means we have an opportunity to show the best of the Great Kenyan Experience. Kenya is the largest and most advanced economy in East and Central Africa making it the most strategic country to host an event of this magnitude. From the sights and scenes throughout the terrains, to the best of Made in Kenya products, to the marvels of infrastructure investments along the routes, to the energy that fuels the country among others, the WRC Safari Rally has comeback at the most opportune time. We call upon each one of us to support the success of this global event. Kenya is truly Africa’s rising star and is reflected by the unity and diversity of its people.
Karibu and Make It Kenya!

Dr. Wilfred Marube, CEO
Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency
@wmarube

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By Patience Nyange
Digital marketingSince the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic earlier in the year and the first case announced in March 2020 in Kenya, it is evident that COVID-19 has proved to the world that ‘normal’ is not permanent. The pandemic has granted us an opportunity, whether at a personal, family, institutionally, nationally and internationally, to pause and reflect while making adjustments as part of our survival tactics.
The Communications and Public Relations (PR) industry has undergone real challenging times. Those who have weathered the storms have had to get creative and innovative in a quick span because, in communication, we shouldn’t waste a crisis. Those who put their act together, invented themselves, learnt new skills, enrolled in a few online courses and learnt the trick of digital communications have remained afloat.

While most PR clients still use the traditional media coverage in promotion of their goods and services, a key area of global communication that is fast-growing and gaining traction is digital communications management. We all agree that the future in communication is digital. Therefore, the big question begs, what aspects of digital communication should today’s Communication/PR professionals be alive to? One such area is digital campaigns.
Digital campaign, as the name suggests, involves online tactical strategies used by individuals or companies (private or public) in driving a specific agenda with the aim of positive customer experience, awareness creation, creating engagement, boosting traffic and ultimately revenue generation.
During my one-year sojourn as an International Public Relations student at Cardiff University, UK, digital communication management is a course that I truly enjoyed. Drawing examples from international digital campaigns to local campaigns in Kenya, a successful digital campaign must be conducted within set objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs). Some key considerations include the following;

a) Understanding and defining your target audience.
Understanding the range of existing, current, and potential customers is a sure way of targeting the right audience. A quick survey or research will tell you what your audience is looking for, what their interests are and the best way to communicate with them. Without this understanding, you will be wondering where your customers are and if at all, your investment in digital campaigns is worth the sacrifice in terms of money and the time invested. Here is a great lesson we can all learn from Susan Chritton, A Master Personal Brand Strategists and Coach – “One of the biggest mistakes we do in relation to our audiences is trying to appeal to everyone. Think about this as the game of darts; You have to aim harder to hit the board. If you let your darts go without aiming them, you probably won’t be making any sense. If you hit the board, you score. And if your aim is perfect and you hit the bull’s eye, even better.”

b). Review your content, from which, develop the most effective campaign messaging and appropriate and catchy hashtags.
Well, if you are in an organization that has been in existence for a while now, you probably have enough content that you would like to promote through a digital campaign. The temptation to put everything out there is one that faces many organizations and individuals in the promotion of their products. However, carry out a successful digital campaign by focusing on one agenda, one product, one messaging per campaign. One way of doing this is to conduct a content audit. If done well, a content audit will help an individual or organization identify relevant content, matching it with the needs of the target audience while crafting sensible messaging and appropriate hashtags.

Make sure to seize the moment by finding a hook in each of your digital campaigns. Ride and leverage on an already existing frenzy and buzz, especially localized campaigns that have an international outlook. When riding on other existing hashtags, contextualize your hashtag so that it is searchable and trackable by your target consumers. For example, during the 40th London Marathon held in early October, Kenya Export Promotion and Brand Agency (KEPROBA), leveraged on the #LondonMarathon digital campaign, to market and brand Kenya as the worlds largest exporter of black tea. In addition, this was a perfect time to endorse the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s sentiments early in the year during the UK-Africa Summit, “every one in two cups of tea drunk in Britain is from Kenya.” Therefore, the choice to brand Kenya’s tea and put appropriate content out there with the hashtag #MakeItKenya when the world was watching the international marathon, in full acknowledgement that Kenya is the #HomeOfChampions, was an excellent digital campaign by KEPROBA.

c). Choose the most appropriate digital platforms.
Before embarking on a digital campaign, it is important to understand how your target audience uses social media. According to 2020 Social Media Marketing Trends report by the Global Web Index, “The most influential brands know that they need to stay on top of customers’ social networking needs. And one way of doing so is by engaging your community and consumers through social media activity; however, this can only be achieved through knowledge of your consumers behaviours and trends online.” It is, therefore, important to tap into the digital consumer survey as a sure of gauging which social media platform is the most appropriate for a given digital campaign.

Other considerations in running a successful digital campaign will require an individual or organization having an adequate budget for it, which could be key for content creation. Creative and innovative content sells. Never underestimate the power of imagery, videography, and infographics. Invest in content creators who understand your brief and your consumers. To use or not to use influencers in digital campaigns is an unending discussion within professionals in PR and Communication industry. Should you want to use them, be sure that they stand for what you believe in, they have an influential digital footprint and are ready to get creative with the content given to them.

Though designing and articulating a complete digital campaign might sound and look like a daunting task, when planned and implemented effectively and efficiently, the benefits are worth the pain the gain. Over and above it all, strive to build trust with your customers even before you need them! A brand is as good as what the consumers say about it!

Patience Nyange is a Communications and Media Advisor. She is also a Chevening Scholar 2019

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Nyakwanya

Kenya prides herself of a blooming flower sector. According to the Kenya Flower Council, our flower exports grew from 10,946 tons in 1988 to 161,227 tons in 2018; growing by 10% each year for more than three decades. Both the volume and value of flowers exports have grown over the last 3 decades placing Kenya as Africa’s lead cut flowers exporter.
In the global export map, Kenya ranks as the 4th largest exporter of flowers behind Netherlands, Colombia and Ecuador. Similarly, in terms of trade balance, Kenya is the fourth largest net exporter of cut flowers globally. Our cut flowers, especially roses are among the most in demand flowers worldwide.
Kenya’s primary export destination for cut flowers, especially roses is Netherlands. Other key markets for our cut flowers include United Kingdom, Germany, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Over the last five years, cut flowers demand has grown faster in China, Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates than in other countries. These are markets for which Kenyan exporters may consider diversifying into or increasing engagement with for enhanced export trade relations.
The Horticultural Crops Directorate note that about half of Kenya’s exports of cut flowers land in Netherlands for the Dutch flower auction before being sold across Europe. Direct sales to the export markets occur at a lesser extent.

Impact of the pandemic on the flowers sector.

It is no secret that the Covid19 pandemic occasioned a multitude of challenges to the sector. Demand for the commodity had declined rendering a massive blow to the local farmers and exporters. The containment measures employed by various countries also reduced the high demand for the flowers that have previously experienced.
Most European nations: our lead export destination for flowers, faced rapidly growing number of Covid-19 incidences which prompted application of interventions meant to curb the spread. Most of the flowers exported in Europe in the beginning of the pandemic were destroyed as the markets for the commodity were closed, borders closed, and logistics priority given to food items and other essential items
Travel bans to Europe adversely affected the supply chains and demand side especially where direct marketing was involved. Airfreight cancellations owing to increased incidences of the disease also hurt the industry as flowers remained unsold. As a result, the value of Kenya’s total exports to her lead flower export destination, Netherlands, declined to Ksh. 8.8 billion between April and June 2020 compared to Ksh. 11.4 billion in the same period in 2019.

Fighting against the economic adversities of the pandemic

The country remained committed to bring the sector back to its vibrant self. Supply side interventions such as allowing air freight and tax restructuring were successfully taken up to cushion the sector players from the hit of the pandemic. The recent ease of lockdown by European countries has rejuvenated the demand for flowers and breathed hope for full recovery of the industry.
According to the Kenya Flower Council, the demand for flowers has started picking up and is expected to be near normal levels in good time. Holding other factors constant, the industry is expected to fully bounce back by early next year. However, the expected stimulus package to the horticultural sector should improve on the competitiveness of the sector by stabilizing national production.
Kenya’s flower sector remains one of the most promising sectors. The demand for flowers has started going back to the normal. We expect the industry to fully bounce back to its buzzing nature.
If anything, the pandemic has taught us how resilient our flower sector is. By July, cut flowers exports had picked up. Exports of cut flowers were estimated at Ksh. 15.5 billion between July and September 2020; Ksh. 2.8 billion higher than the export values of 2019 (July to September).

The next chapter for Kenya

FlowerThe country’s commitment to facilitate trade remains steadfast. As witnessed, investment into logistic support has been prioritized. This is with the aim (among other goals) to enhance trade.
The Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency assists producers and exporters to navigate the export sector and to position ready export products in 22 key markets with the aim of achieving increased export growth. The support to exporters includes Capacity building trainings for exporters; Product development program through instructive programs; Test marketing of export ready products and the Kenya Export Development program that identifies events, Expos, trade missions etc to provide visibility for our export products.
Currently, the Agency has partnered with stakeholders in the Horticulture sector where flowers play a critical role, to develop a go to market Integrated Marketing Communication strategy that will work towards achieving a coordinated communication programme that is customer focused and consistent towards achieving a competitive advantage for the horticultural produce.
However, all this is threatened by a second wave of the pandemic that continue to threaten our traditional markets in the UK and EU. This concern accelerates the need for the horticulture sector to diversify into new markets including Africa, and work towards a more competitive logistical infrastructure.

Dr. Wilfred Marube, CEO
Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency
@wmarube

About KEPROBA

The Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency (KEPROBA) is a State Corporation established under the State Corporations Act Cap 446 through Legal Notice No.110 of August 9th, 2019 after a merger between Export Promotion Council and Brand Kenya Board.The Agency’s core mandate is to implement export promotion and nation branding initiatives and policies to promote Kenya’s export of goods and services
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