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The overarching goal of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) cluster development approach is a modern business value creation method of effecting positive social and economic changes through enriching the culture of innovation, productivity and efficient utilization of natural resources.

As part of the implementation of the cluster initiative, the Kisumu Garment and Textile Incubator project was launched in 2015 with financial support from COMESA under the Technical Cooperation Facility (TCF) amounting to US$ 200,000.   The TCF is funded by the European Union (EU) to provide Member States with the technical and financial resources to implement their commitments under the COMESA regional integration agenda.

The facility was used to establish a garment-making cluster and a textile and garment incubation centre at the Kisumu Polytechnic in the western Kenya town of Kisumu. Two years later, the centre has now achieved unprecedented growth with incomes projected to reach US$100,000 between July 2017 and June 2018.

Speaking to eComesa in Kisumu, two weeks ago, Senior Principal at the Polytechnic Mrs. Joyce Nyanjom said the incomes will be realized through enhanced publicity and intensifying recruitments of news students from the secondary schools.

“This financial year, 2017 to 2018, we will be able to raise 10 million shillings ($100,0000) from this facility,” Mrs. Nyanjom said. “Last year we started late, in the third quarter and so we didn’t do much publicity.”

She said the centre has embarked on a sensitization campaign of the services and courses being offered. The incubation Centre will ensure that they develop other courses related to the garment and textile sector which will help boost the industry.

The centre helps to market the member’s products through exhibitions and networking, lobbying for tenders and subcontracting in supplying garments products on behalf of the members, improving quality of members’ products and building the capacity of members by providing management and skills training.

The Chairperson of the Kisumu Garment and Textile Incubator, Mr. Sali Mohammed Ramadan commonly known as Salimax described the centre as a blessing to small scale garment and textile producers in Kisumu as the facility has state-of-art equipment which has since helped them to improve on the quality of their garments.

“When you go into the incubator, you shall find all the necessary equipment that you need to help you in the production of any garment and this is good for us because we have improved on the quality of the garments we produce,” he said. “With this centre, we are able to beat deadlines and deliver on time. This way we get payments on time and reinvest in our businesses.

The financial sustainability of the project is mainly through membership fees and monthly contributions. The project beneficiaries of the project are SMEs dealing in garment making. Approximately 60% of the members of this cluster are women with more than half of them being youths (aged 18 – 35). The main occupation of the members is garment making with some specializing in textile designing and production and hand looming.