Investors urged to leverage on Kenya/ India trade

Business & Finance Nairobi

Indian investors have been urged to leverage on the government’s big four agenda and set up textile and pharmaceutical industries in the country.
Indian High Commissioner to Kenya, Rahul Chhabra said there was need for Indian investors to partners with their Kenyan counterparts to create more startups in a bid to bridge the trade deficit between the two countries.
Speaking Tuesday during an annual trade and investment promotion in Nairobi, Amb. Chhabra noted that India is one of the largest trading partners of Kenya with a total trade volume of Sh200 billion in 2018.
“India’s old straight ties with Kenya are known and even though we are trading at 2.2 billion dollars, this is just touching the surface. It should be easily close to 5 billion and should be immediate,” he said.
He explained that although the trade volume reflects growth of more than 9 percent from 2017, there still exists a huge potential to increase it even further.
To bridge the deficit, the High Commissioner asked Kenyan investors to take advantage of direct trips to Mumbai and create partnerships that will assist them access the huge Indian market and also get partners to help them with capital and skills to startup business in the country.
Equally Indian investors were urged to explore and invest in the pharmaceutical and textile sectors that have huge economic potential.
“India is the 3rd largest country investing in Kenya and has invested 3 and a half billion and as trade and investment flows. We are now entering County governments and networking for trade opportunities and options,” Commissioner Chhabra said.
Speaking at the forum, Principal Secretary, State Department of Investment and Industry Betty Maina said Kenya’s industrial development in partnership with Indian companies is aimed at looking at various possibilities of diversifying and increasing the trade and investment opportunities, keeping in line with the Government’s ‘big four agenda’.
She noted that despite the government being the driver of the big four agenda, it has an underpinning of seeing additional investment coming from the private sector.
“Indian businesses that are new in Kenya have opportunities under the 4 government priority areas to invest and in the next 11 years we want to achieve our ambitions that are set out to see vibrancy in our industry and also in agriculture,” she said.
Maina explained that India has offered a great inspiration in the agriculture sector through exploring technology, such as investing in cotton, textile and apparel as well as mechanization through companies like Rivatex and also EPZ.
“We are excited by investment in EPZ and other sectors of interest and what we are encouraging is in the area of pharmaceutical sector, iron and steel products and also automotive,” the PS said.
She explained that the government is finalizing the automotive policy and they have reached out to some countries, including India to make sure that the policy as crafted would be concurrent with a lot of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) in the automotive sector.
Narok County Governor Samuel ole Tunai urged the Indian investors to consider investing in the tourism sector in light of direct flights from the East Africa region to the Mara slated to start in June 2019.
Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KNCCI) CEO Kiprono Kittony said Kenya has recently signed an agreement with three Indian businesses from Guajarati that would be setting up in Kenya, including one of most famous food chains, a chocolate room that is a leading fast food chain already established in 35 countries and Kenya will be the 36th.
“Through the same Memorandum of Understanding, we have established links for Kenya tea and coffee to be exported to Guajarati,” Kittony said
India and Kenya are Indian Ocean neighbours who share longstanding trade and people-to-people contacts. At present, India is one of Kenya’s largest trade partners and the second largest foreign investor in Kenya
By Wangari Ndirangu

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