Kenya seeks to tap into China's industrial technology
James Mureu, national vice chairman of Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), told a business forum in Nairobi that local manufacturers are facing stiff competition from foreign industrialists leading to a stagnation of the sector.
"We are therefore keen for joint ventures with Chinese firms so that Kenya can benefit from advanced manufacturing technology that will make the country a major exporter of products," Mureu said during the first edition of the China Home Life Kenya Exhibition and Business to Business Forum.
Over 600 Chinese suppliers of home products such as consumer electronics, furniture, textile garments, lights and lamps from eight Chinese provinces in China are showcasing their products for three days.
The KNCCI has already signed memorandum of understandings with four provincial chambers of commerce in China in order to boost bilateral commercial ties.
Oliver Konje, director of bilateral trade at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives said that the Chinese fair provides a very good platform for Kenyan buyers to network with Chinese suppliers.
"The interaction may culminate in joint ventures, which are significant in expansion of trade and investment," Kiptoo said.
He revealed that Kenya's main exports to China were titanium ores, niobium, tantalum, tea, plastic waste, leather, sheep, lamb skin and other oil seeds while top imports from China included telephone sets, non-electric rail locomotives, cars and automatic data processing machines.
The government official said that trade plays a significant role in both countries' growth and development through its linkages with all sectors of the economy.
Konje said that Kenya welcomes increased Chinese investments especially in manufacturing and value addition.
"This will help bridge the wide trade deficit between the two countries and support the government's big four agenda," he added.
He observed that Kenya is working tirelessly on improving the investment environment in order to reduce the cost of doing business in the country.
Li Xuhang, Charge d'Affaires of Chinese Embassy in Kenya said that the China Home Life Kenya Exhibition is not only a platform to promote the development of bilateral trade but also a bridge for communication and cooperation.
According to the envoy, the exhibitors are from the major economic and trade provinces in China that have their own characteristics in industrial development, which are highly complementary to Kenya.
"We hope that on this fair, participants will have in-depth and extensive exchanges, establish contacts and lay a foundation for future cooperation. At the same time, apart from commodity trade, we hope that participants from both sides pay more attention to industrial investment cooperation," he added.
He noted that the Chinese government encourages Chinese enterprises to invest in Kenya, adding that as a gateway to East Africa, Kenya's significant geographical advantages, stable political status, solid economic foundation and relatively superior business environment make it an attractive destination for Chinese investment. ■