Hong Kong pursues trade, investment deals in Kenya

A delegation of 10 top companies is in the country on a six-day business mission

In Summary

• The Hong Kong delegation has held talks with the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Nairobi and Mombasa chapters.

• The chamber of commerce has fronted opportunities in industrial parks and Export Processing Zones.

Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa with KNCCI President Richard Ngatia. They are flanked by Hong Kong Trade Development Council regional director for Africa and Middle East Daniel Lam (far Left), Nicholas kwan, director of research HKTDC (Second Left) and Guo Ce, the Economic and Commercial Counsellor, Chinese Embassy in Kenya, during a joint business forum between the chamber and HKTDC in Nairobi/Courtesy

Hong Kong is exploring business opportunities in Kenya's manufacturing, logistics and real estate sectors in renewed efforts to deepen investment and trade ties with the country.

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council(HKTDC) is leading a delegation of 10 top companies, which arrived in the country on Monday,on a six-day business mission with a key focus on Nairobi and Mombasa.

On Tuesday, the delegation led by (HKTDC)regional director of Middle East and Africa Daniel Lam held talks with the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry(KNCCI) on possible areas of collaboration and investment.

KNCCI has fronted opportunities in industrial parks and Export Processing Zones among other business opportunities in the country.

According to the chambers' President Richard Ngatia, Kenya has tailor-made services for investors such as industrial parks targeting domestic market, Export Processing Zones targeting export market and Special Economic Zones targeting both domestic and export market.

“The private investors from Hong Kong are encouraged to visit Kenya and invest through public private partnership initiative that the government of Kenya offers.” Ngatia said.

Export Processing Zones (EPZ) were established in 1990 with an aim of attracting and facilitating export-oriented investments. Kenya’s EPZ provide an attractive and enabling environment as well as a range of fiscal and procedural incentives for such investments.

KNCCI chief executive Angela Ndambuki yesterday said Kenya remains an innovative economy, a hub for manufacturing,transport, services and ICT, making it a a top investment destination in the region and the continent at large.

“Kenya is offering a conducive and competitive business environment, sound fiscal policy regime and an advanced human capital on the back of political stability,factors that are critical for investments,” Ndambuki said.

Meanwhile, Lam has noted that this year, trade between Kenya and Hong Kong has grown by 16 per cent and exports ratings have risen by 12 per cent respectively.

In a quick rejoinder,Guo Ce, the Economic and Commercial Counsellor attached to the Chinese Embassy in Kenya said:“The Standard Gauge Railway remains the largest Chinese project in Kenya. China recognises the important strategic location Kenya has and SGR will help Kenya be the lead logistics hub.”

The Hong Kong delegation later flew to Mombasa where it was hosted to a dinner by KNCCI-Mombasa chapter last evening, a forum that attracted more than 100 Mombasa based businesses.

KNCCI Mombasa chapter CEO James Kitavi said close collaborations with Hong Kong will provide local investors an opportunity to diversify their businesses especially in transshipment cargo and freight services,in the wake of distruptions brought about by the SGR cargo services.

“We are looking at linking logistic companies interested in accessing the Chinese market through Hong Kong. We can leverage on Hong Kong's position as a financial and logistic hub to make Mombasa a logistic hub for East Africa and the continent,” Kitavi told The Star.

Kenya and Hong Kong have a relatively stable trade relation. The country exports ores and concentrates of molybdenum, skin leather, edible nuts, precious stones, electrical apparatus, cut flowers and foliage to Hong Kong.

Imports include electrical equipment, coloring preparations, transmission apparatus, mall-wares and toilet articles from Hong Kong.

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