NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 28 – About 22 companies from Japan and Africa have signed 73 Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) during the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development, (TICAD VI).
The MoUs are in various sectors that include energy, infrastructure, private equity and agribusiness among others.
The nature of the MoUs includes enhanced partnerships, regional integration and investments.
Speaking during the Japan Africa Business Conference President Uhuru Kenyatta says the MoUs will strengthen the trade relationship between Japan and Africa urging for more partnerships with the private sector of both regions.
He says Africa needs to diversify its trade with the rest of the world through creation of high quality manufactured goods.
“The government of Kenya is focused of shifting our economy from the production and export of raw materials to the production of high quality manufactured goods,” he stated.
He says industrialisation and diversification should be the top priority areas for Africa.
“I urge you not to lose any opportunity to explore partnerships that can contribute to our efforts to transform our economic productivity by reaching at least 50 percent of GDP as a share of the manufacturing sector,” he stated.
Africa contributes only three percent to the global trade and imports $670 billion of goods and services from the rest of the world.
Value of exports from Africa to the rest of the world is at $570 billion with 50 percent of exports is crude oil and the other significant portion goes to semi processed minerals and raw materials from the agricultural sector.
Among the MoUs signed include one between subsidiaries of Total and Mitsubishi Corporation which is aimed at developing solar energy in the country; and the other two which are between Egis and Mitsubishi Corporation which include development of water in Cote d’Ivoire.
The three MoUs were signed during a joint event by France and Japan dedicated to assessing the progress on the implementation of the Franco-Japanese plan for sustainable development, health and security in Africa launched in 2015.
Kenya investment Authority has also signed three MoUs with Japan External Trade Organisation Mizuho Bank and Bank of Tokyo.
Kenya Investment Authority Moses Ikiara says The MoUs will enhance Kenya to sell its investment portfolio to Japan companies.
“Mizuho Bank and Bank of Tokyo have big companies as their clientele; it will be easy for us to sell our Vision 2030 projects directly to them through these banks,” he told Capital FM Business.
TICAD VI attracted about 100 firms from Japan and 10,000 delegates.
The event which will conclude on Sunday afternoon is the first TICAD to be held in Africa.