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Raila woos Japanese entrepreneurs

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 9 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has asked Japanese businesses to use Kenya as their entry point to the East Africa Community market.

The PM said Kenya would give the Japanese firms a quick entry to the regional market of up to 400 million people in Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo and Southern Sudan.

At the same time, the PM called for access to Japanese market for Kenyan firms, adding that trade should be a two-way affair.

Mr Odinga was speaking when he received a delegation of business executives from the Japan Business Federation and the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry who paid him a courtesy call.

The delegation is in the country to scout for investment opportunities in the region.

The PM particularly invited Japanese firms to take interest in the development of geothermal power, which Kenya has embarked on in its search for clean energy.

He added that the country is keen to expand its capacity in production of hydro-electric, wind and solar power with nuclear remaining a strong option.

Mr Odinga said the country is keen on investments than on financial aid, saying aid has brought mostly suffering to Kenya and other African states.

He said aid money came into the country through" one hand and was smuggled out by the other," leaving the country burdened with debts and no tangible economic development.

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He said the government is investing heavily in infrastructure, including roads, energy and ports and Japanese firms are welcome to participate in the projects.

The Japanese delegation, which was led by Mr Yohei Furuhata, the CEO of the Nippon Signal Co. Ltd and Mamoru Sekiyama of Marubeni Corporation, said their members are keen to participate in the infrastructure projects.

Mr Furuhata said their association will be making proposals to the Japan Parliament on how to begin engaging in Kenya.

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