Kenya woos investors to shore up manufacturing sector

Source:chinadaily 2024-05-14

Riding on the deepening relationship between the two countries, Kenya is calling on Chinese investors to take advantage of the opportunities in its manufacturing sector to contribute to the country's industrialization.

Juma Mukhwana, the principal secretary for the State Department of Industry, assured investors of a huge market once they set up factories in Kenya, saying the government has signed several agreements aimed at opening up the market for locally made goods.

Mukhwana, who spoke at a China-Kenya economic, trade and investment collaboration roundtable in Nairobi on Friday, said the country had just concluded the Kenya-European Union Economic Partnership Agreement under which Kenyan goods gain duty-free and quota-free access to Europe.

Kenya is also working with other major economies such as the United States and with other African countries to facilitate exports to these countries, which will provide opportunities to investors in Kenyan manufacturing, he said.

Kenya aims to raise the contribution of manufacturing to GDP from 7.5 percent to 15 percent by 2027 and to 20 percent by 2030, calling for more international investment in manufacturing in Kenya.

Kenya also plans to establish industrial parks in all its 47 counties, Mukhwana said. Eighteen industrial parks have been built in 18 counties and another 18 will be built next financial year, with plans to cover all 47 counties within the next three years, he said.

There are huge investment opportunities in textiles, leather, avocado, coffee, macadamia nuts, tea, pharmaceuticals and automotive sectors, he said.

The government is now looking at increasing cotton production to ensure adequate supply for the textile industry.

Mukhwana said the country is also looking for investors who want to invest in large-scale agricultural production, noting that Kenya has huge tracts of fertile land sitting idle.

"This is the appropriate time to invest in Kenya. As a government, we are ready to hold your hands wherever you want to invest and help you set up a factory to achieve your dreams."

China has been the biggest trading partner, and the biggest source of imports and foreign direct investment for Kenya. Bilateral trade was worth $8.5 billion in 2022, 23 percent more than in the previous year, according to official figures.

Yuan Lin, of the Department of West Asian and African Affairs in China's Ministry of Commerce, said China has invested in e-commerce, transportation and logistics, green environmental protection and other emerging industries, playing an effective role in fostering the development of related industries in Kenya and other African countries.

By the end of last year China's average annual investment flow in Africa was about $3 billion, with more than 3,500 Chinese companies engaging in various types of business activities across the continent, he said.


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