, TOKYO, Japan, Mar 15 – Toyota Tsusho Corporation said on Sunday it wanted to invest billions of dollars in Kenya’s energy sector after it successfully build the 280-megawatt Olkaria plants that have significantly enhanced Kenya’s “green” credentials.
At a meeting in Tokyo with President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is on a five-day official visit, senior Toyota Tsusho executives said they had set their eyes on a number of geothermal projects the government is due to put to tender in the coming weeks.
The projects include a unit of Olkaria I and V, and Olkaria VI. Other fields of interest included Menengai, Akiira, Longonot, Baringo-Silali and Suswa power projects, Toyota Tsusho CEO Jun Karube told the President.
It signalled a significant rise in interest in investing in Kenya by the Japanese government and companies, and followed Friday’s watershed meeting between President Kenyatta and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Prime Minister’s official residence in Tokyo.
Toyota Tsusho, which carried out a feasibility study on the building of an oil refinery from Lamu port through to Kampala and Kigali, also expressed interest in bidding for the project itself when it became available.
“Kenya is a showcase for geothermal production in Africa. We are now ready to take further steps in the forthcoming projects,” Karube said.
President Kenyatta welcomed Toyota Tsusho’s interest in the Kenyan and regional projects, but added that the interest would only be pursued within the framework of existing rules and procedures.
“We are keen that we develop these resources. We have clear procedures and are looking forward to the processes being carried out in line with our laws and procedures,” the President said.
Karube also said Toyota Tsusho was implementing a Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Mombasa County two years ago to build a multi-billion shilling water desalination plant to alleviate the second city’s perennial shortages.
Toyota Tsusho was now awaiting a Letter of Intent, which usually offers the green-light for a project to proceed, from Mombasa before embarking on the $162 million project.
“Mombasa is a critical town and the project will ensure that it is adequately supplied with this important commodity,” President Kenyatta said.
Under the project, 100,000 cubic meters of water will be desalinated from the Indian Ocean to the county’s 1.7 million people daily.
He asked the National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich to work with the County Government of Mombasa in ensuring the implementation of the water project.
Karube said Toyota Tsusho has set 2017 as the water project’s commercial operation date.
Karube said his investment-hungry group has a keen interest in the container terminal at the Port of Mombasa, and would participate in the tender process with other contenders.
Toyota Tsusho Corporation opened its human resources training centre – Toyota Kenya Academy – at the Toyota Kenya Business Park in Nairobi last year July.
Cabinet Secretaries Amb. Amina Mohammed and Eng. Michael Kamau also attended the meeting. Toyota Kenya Chairman Dennis Awori was also present.