Magazine article International Trade Forum

Spinners and Spinners Blankets the Humanitarian Aid Market. (Kenyan Enterprises Succeed)

Magazine article International Trade Forum

Spinners and Spinners Blankets the Humanitarian Aid Market. (Kenyan Enterprises Succeed)

Article excerpt

For the past nine years Spinners and Spinners, a blanket manufacturer based in Nairobi, Kenya, has been supplying blankets to various international aid agencies. The company currently has long-term agreements with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to supply blankets. In 1999, it was one of the largest suppliers of blankets to relief agencies during the crisis in Kosovo.

Spinners and Spinners have exported blankets throughout Africa including Sudan, Namibia, Burundi, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, Liberia and the United Republic of Tanzania. The market for blankets is very competitive; there are six other manufacturers in Kenya and demand is limited. Spinners and Spinners are able to succeed in this market for two reasons: they produce quality blankets at competitive prices.

Before 1995, business with international aid agencies was very different in the region. Though standards were mentioned, they were not strictly enforced. This situation caused a major influx of non-standard blankets which were offered on the market. Following the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, the business of aid procurement became much more formal and regulated. Most international aid agencies, including UNHCR and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement introduced stringent standards and specifications. Spinners and Spinners saw these new developments as opportunities to pitch their products with aid agencies. …

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