• According to KNCCI data, in 2021-2022, Kenya’s exports to China increased by seven per cent, where the country exported 240 million worth of goods and imported 3.8 billion.
• China’s current FDI to Kenya stands at over $348 million (sh50.9 billion).
Kenya and China say they are committed to deepening ties in a bid to bridge the existing trade imbalance and attract more foreign direct investment (FDI).
This comes as preparations for the 6th annual Kenya International Industrial Expo slated for September 21-23, 2023 pick up.
Dubbed the ‘Kenya Import and Export Fair’, this year’s theme will focus on driving growth in the country’s manufacturing sector through technology.
Speaking at a media brief on Monday, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) president Erick Rutto said the expo provides an excellent platform for networking and collaboration for potential partners, suppliers, customers and investors.
“The expo serves as a showcase for the latest innovations, techniques, trends, and industrial sectors majorly in machinery, construction, hardware, energy, and automobile,” Rutto said.
According to KNCCI data, in 2021-2022, Kenya’s exports to China increased by seven per cent, where the country exported Sh240 million worth of goods and imported Sh3.8 billion.
Rutto noted that this gives a trade imbalance of 1:16, meaning that for every container leaving Kenya for China, 16 containers leave China for Kenya.
He said that there is a need to bridge the gap, as Chinese businesses continue to express interest in Kenyan products and services.
“It is up to us to enhance trade and I am happy that through this industrial expo, the two countries will bring in business groups for the purpose of sharing business intelligent information,” Rutto said.
Rutto said that the government has signed several MoUs with different Chinese firms, to attract more companies that are willing to invest in the country.
KNCCI in partnership with the Chinese government has also established a networking and facilitation office in Hunan province for Kenyan businesses looking to venture into China.
“We have been in talks with the Chinese customs and standards and we have signed an MoU so that we can have pre-export verification of products we export to China,” he said.
Rutto added that through the expo, there are plans to tap into the tourism sector, stating that there has been much interest by Chinese investors to bring tourists to Kenya.
“Every year 150 million Chinese nationals leave their country as tourists and Kenya equally receives 1.6 million international tourists,” he said.
“If you calculate the ratio and if we focus on tourism alone, we can deal with this trade imbalance issue. This is why we have even set up a tourism and hospitality industry committee to look into ways we can tap into this sector.”
The expo has attracted over 200 Chinese investors and over 30 local businesses that will be showcasing their products.
Afripeak Expo Kenya MD Gao Wei said this year’s expo will have a special dedicated focus on increasing Kenyan exports to China.
This will target products such as mangoes, coffee, tea, nuts, avocados, and mining products among others.
Wei said goods from China include general machinery, building materials, electrical and new green energy products, cars and spare parts, mining equipment, and medical supplies.
“The expo is an opportunity to continue marketing Kenya as an ideal investment destination as well as connect local enterprises to the best technological growths from China,” he said.
Wei noted that the value of bilateral trading between the two countries has increased by 25 per cent, where the trade volume is currently valued at $5.3 billion (Sh775.6 billion)
Kenya Investment Authority MD, June Chepkemei said Kenya is committed to facilitating and supporting the 200 investors who will be exhibiting at the expo.
She said the current target for the government is to inject over $10 billion (sh1.46 trillion) into the economy by December 2023 in the form of FDI.
According to Chepkemei, China’s current FDI to Kenya stands at over $348 million (sh50.9 billion).
agencies, we estimate that we are about halfway in terms of meeting our target.”