- DRC is Kenya's sixth biggest export market
- Last year, Equity Bank committed Sh500 billion credit line for small businesses for next five years
At least 26 Kenyan companies have committed trade investments worth $1.6 billion in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
These are part of the firms that participated in last year’s Kenya-DRC Trade Mission organized by the Kenyan government and Equity Group.
Some of the companies that have made commitments include Rentco Africa Limited, Optiven Group, Greenlight Planet Limited, Jumbo Foam Limited, BIDCO, Geomaps, Nyanja Associates among others.
This was revealed on Monday at a business dinner hosted by Equity Bank Group to welcome DRC into the East Africa Community.
Speaking at the event, DRC President Felix Tshisekedi said that his government has put in place reforms to support investors coming into the country.
They include a three-axis program to protect investment and ensure a good investment climate, improvement of the tax systems to allow the flow of goods in and out of DRC and access to loans for economic cooperators.
''We also have an agency in charge of improving the business climate to link the institutions to improve both local and foreign investments,'' Tshisekedi said.
Kenya's Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina thanked President Tshisekedi for joining the EAC business community and celebrated the growing links between Kenya and DRC following last year’s activities.
She reiterated Kenya's support for the business community in the region, adding that DRC is Kenya's sixth-leading export market.
Her sentiments were echoed by Equity Bank Group managing director and CEO James Mwangi. He expressed gratitude to the DRC President and his government for the support during the trade mission held late last year.
He further expressed Equity’s commitment to boost investment in the country, announcing a $100 million (Sh11.5 billion) capital injection in EquityBCDC to enhance Equity’s capacity to fund development projects and large mining and manufacturing companies in DRC.
This is in addition to the Sh500 billion the lender committed to giving out to small businesses in the region for the next five years.
Mwangi added that among the 26 companies who have made their commitments some will require DRC’s government support and made a plea to the DRC government to assist them to conduct feasibility studies.
''Some of these firms include Kenya Builders & Concrete Co. Ltd which is looking to set up a cement company and Tru Foods Limited looking to set up an edible oil manufacturing plant,'' Mwangi said.
The investment is coming at the time DRC is in the final stages of officially joining the East Africa Community (EAC) as the seventh member.