Kenyatta to India: Open Your Market to Kenyan Goods

Kenyatta addressing the Kenya-India business forum this week in Nairobi, Kenya

President Uhuru Kenyatta has encouraged more Indian companies to invest in Kenya to bridge the trade imbalance that is in favour of India.

He urged India to open its market to Kenyan goods and also support value addition.

The President said companies that have set up shop in Kenya can testify that the country is open, cheap safe and ideal for local and foreign business and investment.

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He added that his Government has put in place business-friendly reforms that are supported by wide and expansive local, regional and international markets.

“It is time to partner with Kenya so that India’s products, services and firms can find markets right across Africa,” President Kenyatta said. “I would like to encourage more trade and, indeed, a deeper partnership between Kenya and India investors.”

The Head of State spoke this week when he and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a Kenya-India business forum in Nairobi. Eighty business leaders from India accompanied the Prime Minister.

The two leaders cited the historic trade and business ties between the two countries and rooted for the entrenchment of a “win-win” partnership.

“We have worked together in the past in many areas; we have to work closer now for the benefit of the people of our two countries,” Prime Minister Modi said.

He gave an assurance of his Government’s support to make Kenya a regional hub in health provision.

He said Kenya and India will work together in harnessing solar energy, saying it is a good strategy in providing electricity to rural villages.

“I am aware that Kenya lays great emphasis on solar energy. We are expanding the same form of energy, and together we can achieve more in this area,” the PM said.

Assuring that India will always work to strengthen its ties with Kenya, the Prime Minister said he looked forward to the two countries collaborating in the exploitation of their maritime resources.

Prime Minister Modi and President Kenyatta agreed to facilitate the two countries’ business communities to scale up the economic cooperation.


President Kenyatta observed that while the volume of trade between the two countries has grown steadily from Ksh5.1 trillion in 2009 to Ksh9.4 trillion in 2013, and Ksh8.9 trillion in 2015, there is still untapped potential in Kenya.

“Although Kenya’s trade with India has shown remarkable improvement, the balance of trade remains tilted in favour of India as its exports to Kenya grew from Ksh83 billion in 2009 to Ksh252 billion in 2015,” President Kenyatta said.

He said Indian companies could access unexploited opportunities in Kenya through partnership with Kenyan companies, public-private partnership or on their own.

The President cited agribusiness, textiles, tourism, manufacturing, wholesale and retail business, distribution, mining, health and pharmaceutical manufacturing, export processing zones and construction as some of areas that could be tapped.

To boost trade relations, President Kenyatta encouraged collaboration between the two countries’ trade and investment support institutions.

“Such collaboration would definitely hasten information exchange on trade and investment, and also facilitate transfer of technology,” President Kenyatta said.

He expressed hope that the business forum will serve as a significant stride towards opening up new markets, which will encourage investment, trade and technology transfer between the two countries.

President Kenyatta called for continued to interaction – at all levels – to improve economic ties between Kenya and India.

Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed urged India to facilitate an AGOA-style initiative as a way of providing Kenyan goods access to the Indian market.

Leaders of Kenya and India business communities outlined their discussion and agreement they to boost their partnership.


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