Kenya angles for larger share of Japan market

August 12, 2013
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Foreign Secretary Amina Mohammed says Kenya-Japan need to address trade deficit. Photo/ FILE
Foreign Secretary Amina Mohammed says Kenya-Japan need to address trade deficit. Photo/ FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 12 – Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed says there is need to improve Kenya’s trade relations with Japan which stands in favour of the east Asian nation.

Speaking during a Kenya-Japan business forum in Nairobi on Monday, Ambassador Mohamed called on Japan to create more markets for Kenyan goods and bridge the gap of Kenya’s exports to Japan and their imports from Kenya.

Currently, Kenya imports goods worth close to Sh57 billion from Japan annually, compared to goods worth a mere Sh4 billion imported by Japan from Kenya.

“There is great potential to improve our trade relations, by Japan buying more tea; more coffee, fruits among other products from our lovely country. Indeed, Japan may also wish to consider buying more of our cut flowers directly from Nairobi, instead of doing so from other parts of the world,” Mohamed said.

She called for more exchanges between the Kenyan business community and that from Japan to create more investment opportunities in both countries.

“I am confident that at the end of this forum we will have new business ideas and information that will translate to real business opportunities. It is important that the business community plays its full role since our role as government is facilitative in nature,” she noted.

On her part, Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) CEO Carol Kariuki encouraged more companies from Japan to come to Kenya and invest in the energy sector especially in the geothermal sub-sector.

She says Kenya has over 10,000 megawatts of geothermal resources that need to be exploited and boost the country’s power grid.

“In geothermal, there are areas of transmission and distribution that needs upgrading and expansion. For example right now we do have excess power in Mombasa, but we are not able to bring it out of the place because of transmission issues. So this presents an opportunity, in that we can use a lot of technology from Japan to be able to expand that area,” Kariuki said.

The one-day forum brought together representatives of 36 local companies and 10 from Japan with the aim of promoting business between Kenya and Japan, and to explore possibilities for the further involvement of Japanese companies in the economic development of Kenya.

The forum has been organised by KEPSA in cooperation with Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) and is the first joint action, after the Fifth Summit Meeting of Tokyo International Conference on African Development held in Yokohama, Japan, June this year.

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