NAIROBI, November 20 – Kenya has lodged a plea with the Indian government for a Sh5.2 billion loan to purchase power transmission lines.
Speaking on Thursday when he met visiting Indian State of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Prime Minister Raila Odinga said the concessional loan will boost Kenya’s effort in providing power throughout the country.
“During the India-Africa Forum Summit in April this year, India announced a US$5.4 billion line credit to African nations for priority sectors and as a result of that, Kenya has requested India for a concessional loan amounting to US$ 66.5 million for power transmission lines,” he said.
Mr Odinga also said he will lead a Kenyan delegation to India on January 12 next year to discuss further business cooperation between the two countries.
“I will lead a huge Kenyan delegation including business executives and Cabinet Ministers there,” he said.
The Prime Minister emphasised the need to strengthen cooperation between the two countries saying India was among Kenya’s top 10 trading partners.
In efforts to strike a trade balance between the two countries he asked India to increase its imports of Kenya’s products.
Mr Odinga said he recognised India’s contribution to the production of Anti-Retroviral Drugs (ARVs) and called upon Indian pharmaceutical companies to open production companies in Kenya.
He said due to the high cost of new ARVs most people requiring the drugs could not afford them.
“I want to extend a special invitation to Indian pharmaceutical firms like Cipla to come to Kenya and produce the newer and more effective ARVs here,” he said.
The Prime Minister also identified ICT as an area of potential that India can promote in Kenya to create employment for young people in Kenya.
He assured the investors that the government would give all the assistance required for them to begin businesses in the country.
Mr Modi invited Kenyans to invest in India as well, saying opportunities existed in the petroleum industry.
In a move to strengthen the trade relations, he said the two countries should form a committee to formulate polices and regulations to manage their cooperation.
The Chief Minister also urged business executives attending a meeting at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre to ensure they protect the environment in consideration of the global warming implications.
There are about 70,000 Indians living in Kenya and 75 percent of them have acquired the Kenyan citizenship.
Most of them are top entrepreneurs in the country.