NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 7 – President Uhuru Kenyatta and Brand Kenya Board Chairman Dr Chris Kirubi marketed Kenya as the next frontier at a business forum in Berlin on Thursday.
President Kenyatta called for partnership in the service industry, agriculture, manufacturing and the extractive sectors and affirmed Kenya’s commitment to export its oil finds by 2022.
In the extractive sector in particular, President Kenyatta said Kenya was keen to partner with Germany in order to build the technical skills of its labour force.
“I’m glad that our governments have formed a working group on skills transfer and I want to assure you that Kenyans are quick learners and the most hardworking.”
Kirubi said the German investors were most welcome to partner with Kenyan companies and called for the establishment of vehicle assembly companies in Kenya for instance.
“I only buy German cars but if the rest of Kenya is to buy German cars they need to be assured that it won’t cost them an arm and a leg to maintain them,” he said.
He also welcomed the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) to partner with Kenyan companies in the area of renewable energy saying Kenya’s solar and wind made it a profitable investment.
Dr Kirubi who is also Chairman of the German DHL Kenya Board and on the Bayer Board said the investors needed to act fast, “as the early bird catches the worm.”
Kenya Private Sector Alliance Chairman Dennis Awori said Kenya’s location on the African content added to its attractiveness given through Kenya Airways, it would provide access to 42 other African capitals from Nairobi.
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed concurred and encouraged Germans to fight to take the top spot as Kenya’s biggest trading partners.
“You are currently the fourth largest investors but just as your diplomatic plates in Kenya read 1 CD on account of your being the first to recognise Kenya’s independence, so should your businesses,” she said.
Chairman of the Sub-Saharan Africa Initiative of German Business (SAFRI) Prof Dr Heinz-Walter Grobe said Kenya was indeed lucrative to German investors and given the right training, he said, German companies would take advantage of the young labour force.
He also said they were keen to hold their next Africa-German Business Summit in Nairobi to explore the opportunities there.