Kenya is keen to tap Chinese investments in the manufacturing sector deemed crucial to addressing poverty and unemployment in the country, officials said on Wednesday.
Chris Kiptoo, Principal Secretary in the State Department of Trade, said Kenya is keen to harness Beijing’s technical prowess, capital and experience to promote industrial growth as outlined in the country’s Vision 2030 blue print.
“We are exploring new partnerships with Chinese investors to develop a strong manufacturing sector that can create jobs and boost our export potential,” Kiptoo said.
He spoke in Nairobi during a China-Africa Industrial Capacity Cooperation Forum held on the sidelines of the ongoing China-Africa Industrial Capacity Cooperation Expo.
More than 50 Chinese companies drawn from diverse sectors like manufacturing, renewable energy, telecommunications and mining are showcasing their products and services to potential clients during the four-day expo.
Kiptoo said the expo provides a chance for Kenya and China to deepen their bilateral cooperation in the manufacturing sector.
“This exposition provides an opportunity for Chinese companies to introduce new and appropriate technologies to modernize our industries,” Kiptoo said, adding that Kenya is also facilitating Chinese investments in wholesale and retail sectors.
Kiptoo said Kenya’s industrial sector has potential for growth thanks to political goodwill, availability of skilled labor, modern infrastructure and a stable macro-economic climate.
“State-led reforms have improved the business environment thus attracting foreign direct investment flows into key sectors like manufacturing, infrastructure and agro-processing,” Kiptoo said.
Guo Ce, Economic and Commercial Counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Kenya, noted the East African nation is currently one favorite destination for Chinese investors.
“Its (Kenya) location is very important and apart from good legislation, the country has a strong human resource base,” Guo said.
He hailed Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s new vision to convert Kenya into a manufacturing hub as a means to address youth unemployment and boost the country’s export potential.
Moses Ikiara, Managing Director of Kenya Investment Authority (Keinvest), said the expo will help showcase the potential growth of Kenya’s manufacturing sector to Chinese investors.
“We are very excited Nairobi has been chosen to host the first China-Africa Industrial Cooperation expo. We hope to tap into China’s capacity in different areas like technology and man power to grow our industrial sector,” said Ikiara.
He added that Kenya aims to attract Chinese investments in the Special Economic Zones (SECs) that will be established in the country’s hinterland.