NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya is seeking to leverage on Chinese
manufacturers setting up base in Kenya in order to boost
exports, a senior government official has said.
Peter Munya, cabinet
secretary for industry, trade and cooperatives told a trade
forum in Nairobi on Tuesday that Kenya welcomes Chinese
companies to invest in manufacturing and value addition in order
to boost Kenyan exports.
A trade mission from
China’s Anhui Province is currently visiting Kenya to explore
business opportunities with the East African nation. According
to Munya, there are more than 400 Chinese companies in Kenya.
“But we need many
more Chinese firms especially in the manufacturing sector,” he
The Kenyan official
said the government is working tirelessly on improving the
investment climate which has witnessed an unprecedented
improvement in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index
with Kenya’s rank moving from 136 in 2014 to 61 in this year’s
Munya said that the
government will support Chinese investors to do business in the
country, noting that the large Chinese business delegation is an
indication of their willingness to partner with Kenya in line
with China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
He said that Kenya
is prioritizing expansion of market access for locally
manufactured goods in order to lure more foreign investors to
set up operations in the country.
Early this year,
Kenya signed the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA),
said Munya. According to the African Union, 44 African countries
have signed the AfCFTA as of March 2018.
He said that once it
is operational it will bring together 54 countries with a
combined population of over one billion and a gross domestic
product of approximately 349 trillion Kenya shillings (about 3.4
trillion U.S. dollars).
Munya said that
trade and investment play a significant role in the country’s
growth and development through linkages to all sectors of the
Li Xuhang, charge
d’affaires at the Chinese Embassy in Kenya said that the Chinese
government is encouraging its business community to invest in
Kenya, adding that Kenya is also an important country in the
Belt and Road Initiative and industrial cooperation.
He noted that Kenya
is the gateway into East Africa due to its excellent geographic
location as well as stable political and economic environment.
The diplomat noted
that President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda on affordable
housing, universal healthcare, food security and manufacturing
also provides opportunities for Chinese investors.
The envoy observed
that China has become a major force for Kenya’s economic
development because the Chinese enterprises operating in Kenya
have created over 150,000 job opportunities for locals over the
Li said that over
the years, Sino-Kenya relationship has been developing rapidly
through improved mutual trust, pragmatic cooperation as well as
growing people-to-people exchanges.
Zhou Xi’an, Deputy
Governor of Anhui Province said that investors from his province
are keen to invest in Kenya due to the strong complementarity
between Kenya and China.
principal secretary at Kenya’s ministry of industry, trade and
cooperatives said Chinese companies will help Kenya to meet its
industrialization agenda of expanding the contribution of the
manufacturing sector to the economy.
training opportunities bridge skills gap in Kenya
NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
China has made significant contribution to help
bridge skills gap in Kenya by offering training opportunities
for the country’s youth and civil servants, a Chinese diplomat
said on Wednesday.
Guo Ce, economic and
commercial counselor at the Chinese embassy in Kenya, said that
development of a highly trained workforce has been at the heart
of cooperation between Beijing and the east Africa’s largest
“As one of the most
promising resources of Kenya, human resource has always been an
important area of deepening practical cooperation between China
and Kenya,” said Guo.
He spoke in Nairobi
during an event to conduct an end of year evaluation of Chinese
technical assistance in training and capacity development in
officials attended the ceremony to take stock of China funded
technical training opportunities that has benefited public
servants of all ranks, students and local staff employed by
companies from the Asian country.
Guo said that nearly
10,000 Kenyan government officials have visited China to
participate in training seminars under the Foreign Aid Human
Resources Training Program launched by the ministry of commerce
“After studying in
China, many officials have been promoted or transferred to more
important posts, and a lot of people hope to continue their
studies in China,” said Guo.
He noted that China
funded skills upgrade and vocational training programs have
deepened friendship with Kenya while hastening the country’s
“We are willing to
continue to explore more convenient and efficient training
platforms and strengthen human resources cooperation with
Kenya,” said Guo.
Kenya is banking on
closer cooperation with China in the area of human resources
development to modernize the public sector and boost service
Simon Angote, acting
secretary of human resources division in the state department
for public service, said that China funded skills upgrade for
Kenyan civil servants has enhanced their competence in strategic
areas like trade, energy, telecommunications, diplomacy and
“It is worth noting
that the 2019 proposed bilateral (Kenya specific) short-term
training programs (to be offered alongside the multilateral
programs) focuses on supporting the government’s big four
agenda,” said Angote.
He said that an
evaluation undertaken by the government two years ago revealed a
huge demand for Chinese scholarships by Kenyan public servants
since they enhanced their performance.
Chinese-made products save
Kenyans money and create jobs
By Bedah Mengo NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
When Judith Boke gave birth to her first son
seven years ago, she bought baby diapers occasionally, using
them only at night because the items were pricey.
“I used to buy a
pack of 32 for about 800 shillings (7.8 U.S. dollars), which was
expensive, so I agreed with my husband that we use nappies most
of the time,” she said on Wednesday.
Today, Boke is
finding her life much easier when nursing her two-month-old baby
boy. She can afford to use diapers throughout the day as prices
have dropped markedly after Chinese brands entered the market of
the east African country.
diapers are among myriad products from the Asian nation that
have won the hearts of Kenyans. From clothes, furniture, house
fittings and motorbikes to electronic items like TVs, radios and
mobile phones and motorbikes, the Chinese-made imports have
offered Kenyans affordable and quality options. Besides, they
offer employment to hundreds of dealers selling them.
In downtown Nairobi,
Kenya’s capital, quite a a number of shops sell items imported
from China. At the OTC bus station, several shops lined up in a
lane next to the terminus are manned with up to three people,
one taking cash and the rest attending to customers.
There are at least
10 shops at the lane nicknamed Beijing. At one of the shops,
attendant George Kamau is overwhelmed by customers amid brisk
“You can take an
alternative diaper brand because the one you want is out of
stock. It is as good as the other one,” he told a Somali woman
on Wednesday, who was buying goods in wholesale for resale.
Away from OTC
terminus, on River Road, another set of shops selling various
Chinese-made items are lined up on the streets.
Several mobile phone
shops are selling products from Chinese phone giants that
include Tecno, Xiaomi and Huawei.
“This is brand new
from China and you get it at the best price, only 45 dollars and
you have a phone that has a camera, big screen, touch and radio.
With this you will have no problem taking selfies,” a saleswoman
said at a shop as she marketed a Tecno phone.
As markets and shops
in the East African nation teem with Chinese-made goods making
both buyers and sellers happy, Chinese-made motorbikes have also
offered thousands of Kenyans jobs.
Assemblers Association of Kenya and the ministry of transport
estimate that there are close to 800,000 motorbike taxis,
commonly known as boda bodas, on Kenyan roads, more than three
quarters of which are imported from China.
Each rider makes an
average of 9.8 dollars a day, which means the drivers are
generating at least 7 million dollars a day.
estimates that some 5 million people across Kenya depend on the
motorbikes for transport every day, as they offer livelihood to
thousands of others who comprise of boda boda riders’ families.
“I bought my first
bike made in China at 590 dollars from someone, which was
secondhand, but from that machine I have been able to get two
more in two years. I have now employed two people,” said boda
boda driver David Kiarie.
Henry Wandera, an
economics lecturer in Nairobi, attributed Kenya’s love for
Chinese goods to their affordability and quality.
Chinese brands because they are affordable and of good quality.
With incomes shrinking for some people and others stagnating,
the Chinese goods are offering good bargains to consumers and
jobs to the sellers,” he said.
At least 800,000
jobs were created in Kenya last year, according to the Economic
Survey 2018, the majority of which were in the informal sector
where traders selling the Chinese items belong. With imports on
the rise, more jobs are expected to be created this year and in
the years ahead.
Bureau of Statistics data show the value of imports from China
last year stood at 3.8 billion dollars, up from 3.2 billion
dollars in 2016.