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Kenya, India to work on attracting more Indian investments into the country

Kenya and India are working together on modalities to encourage more Indian investments in the country in a bid to boost manufacturing, trade and investment and create job opportunities.

Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary (PS) Korir Sing’oei said that the Kenyan government has put in place an enabling environment for businesses to operate and thrive which is key in attracting foreign investment into the country.

Speaking at the Mövenpick hotel, Sing’oei said that the story of the Kenyan-Indian community’s impact on the country is of one of resilience, hard work and immense creativity from manufacturing to health, agriculture, hospitality, and cultural sphere where the community has left an indelible mark on virtually every sector of the economy.

“We cannot overlook the realm of manufacturing where we have had great contribution from the likes of Manu Chandaria, Vimal Shah, the Merali family, Patel family among others who have played a vital role in shaping our nation’s manufacturing landscape particularly in textile, steel, iron pharmaceuticals, food processing among many others,” said Sing’oei.

The PS noted that in the medical sector, the Kenyan-Indian community has made contributions in the establishment of hospitals like MP Shah, Aga Khan, Mediheal which have led to improvement of the health sector as well as providing a skilled workforce in the medical field.

The PS called on Kenyans to emulate the Indian communal style of living where they come together and put-up projects and initiatives like hospitals, schools, sports centers like the Oshwal club in efforts to assist each other.

“I have observed that most Indian businesses are family owned and they are passed from father to son and they keep building on that. Most Kenyan wealth which a generation creates often disappears in the second or third generation and it is high time that Kenyans embraced the idea of incorporating their children into their businesses early enough so that they can learn and carry on with the business long after the parents have passed on,” said Sing’oei.

Sing’oei explained that just the other day they were with President William Ruto in Djibouti where they met with the leadership of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a conglomeration of about seven countries where they held talks on setting up a new regional economic block which will bring together members of the East African Community (EAC) and also include Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea in efforts to boost free trade and facilitated movement among the member states.

“The Kenyan government is engaged in creating larger markets that go beyond Kenya so that when foreign investors like those from India set up businesses in Kenya they are able to access a larger regional market,” said Sing’oei.

He said that there are many strategies that the government has put in place, be it in infrastructure, licensing, removing tariff and nontariff barriers to enable businesses to operate optimally.

India High Commissioner to Kenya Namgya Khampa said that Kenya and India have a very old and historical relationship and the diaspora can play a critical role in bringing the two countries closer.

“We are looking at working with Kenya’s priorities and India’s capacities to see how we can align them and get greater Indian investments and expertise as well as getting the exchanges going on smoothly for the benefit of both countries,” said Khampa.

She said that Kenyan-Indians have played a crucial role in the development of Kenya and they deserve to be celebrated as they have grown to be a force to reckon with from the humble beginnings that the first Kenyan-Indians started from.

Khampa said that as India celebrates its 75 years of independence, they reckon the immense contribution of the Indian origin diaspora who are estimated to be 30 million across the world and 80, 000 in Kenya.

“The Indian diaspora is a force to reckon with and a building bridge of friendship between the countries they are in and India,” said Khampa.

United Asian Network (UAN) chairman Bimal Kantaria said that the organization is an umbrella body for the Asian community think tanks in Kenya which is quite diverse with members from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and they are trying to bring everybody together so that they have a dialogue on the nation’s development.

Kantaria said that they are first Kenyans and then Indians explaining that for his case their family first came to Kenya in the year 1898.

“As the Asian community in Kenya, we are big in manufacturing but over the coming years, Information Technology (IT) will be a very important area that we will be investing in to go in line with the government’s digital transformation agenda,” said Kantaria.

He added that they will also be investing in the services sector and agriculture where this year is the year of the millet and they will be looking at using millet as a substitute to maize in the wake of global warming and in support of the ministry of agriculture’s drive for more drought tolerant crops to replace maize.

By Joseph Ng’ang’a

 

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