Create global partnerships, manufacturers urged

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Manufacturers have been urged to take advantage of foreign investors’ interest in Kenya and create global partnerships.

This took place during the Kenya – Japan Business Forum, in which Japanese manufacturers expressed their interest in investing in Kenya.

Kenya and Japan established diplomatic relations in 1963.

ince that time, Kenya as the gateway and hub for East and Central Africa, has occupied a very special position in Japan’s diplomatic relations within the region. Currently, Kenya hosts one of the largest Japanese communities in Africa (about 800 as at October 2016). Nairobi is the Regional Headquarters for Japan’s Cooperation Agencies namely JICA, JETRO and JBIC. By December 2018, there were over one hundred and four (104) Japanese companies operating in Kenya, of which 54 have physical presence in the country. This is according to data released by the embassy of Kenya in Japan.

According to the Japan Business Council for Africa Representative Mr Yokoi Yasuhiko Kenya plays a critical role in free trade, especially in regional and global trade.

“We established the Japan Business Council for Africa to enhance economic relations with African countries. Kenya is a strategic partner because it is our gateway to developing business regionally besides being the most promising in terms of economic development,” said Mr Yokoi Yasuhiko.

Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) Chair, Mr Sachen Gudka noted that collaboration and strategic partnerships are fundamental to improving business outcomes. The partnership between Kenyan and Japanese companies will be a key driver towards the achievement of the Big Four Agenda and increasing the sector’s contribution to the GDP to 15 per cent by 2022.

“Fostering greater strategic collaboration between local and foreign manufacturers, government and social sectors will be a critical driver of innovation and economic growth in 2020 and beyond. The more we increase our collaboration in driving the efficiency of our local industry, not only will we realize both our economic goals but also create wealth and increase the purchasing power of all Citizens,”  he disclosed.

Kenya is one of the leading recipient of Japanese development Assistance (ODA) in the Sub-Saharan Africa. This aid is mainly focused on technical assistance; grant aid; and concessional (ODA) loans. The priority areas of bilateral cooperation are five-fold namely, economic infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, and environment.

Speaking during the forum, Meghraj Group Chair Mr Binoy Meghraj noted that foreign direct investment is a sure way of driving industrial growth in both countries and that global partnerships are key to ensuring foreign direct investment in the country.

“East Africa and especially Kenya is a fast-growing economy. The ability to connect with different countries will drive this growth further and drive industrial growth in both countries. Through this partnership,  companies will enjoy the transfer of information on business processes from the factory floor to management as well as investments,” said Mr Meghraj.

Japan seeks to partner with Kenya in the following sectors: Agriculture, Food and Beverage, Paper and Board, Metal and Allied, Energy and Electricals, Automotive, and Building and Construction.

The Kenya – Japan Business Forum is organized by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Japan Business Council for Africa (JBCA), Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) and Meghraj Capital.

Also read: How Kenyan manufacturers will grow sector by 2022

Yvonne Kawira is an award winning journalist with an interest in matters, regional trade, tourism, entrepreneurship and aviation. She has been practicing for six years and has a degree in mass communication from St Paul’s University.

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