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Keen consumer interest as 'China Trade Week' opens in Nairobi

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The fourth edition of China Trade Week opened in Nairobi on Wednesday as local consumers expressed interest in products manufactured by the Asian nation.

Adan Mohamed, the Cabinet Secretary for Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, was joined by executives from leading Chinese firms to launch the three-day trade fair and exhibition.

"China remains our biggest trading partner and we look forward to increasing the volume of goods and services traded between our two countries," Mohamed said.

The 2018 China trade week attracted 500 companies that exhibited products ranging from electronics, lighting equipment, mobile phones, textiles, construction materials, food and beverages.

Organizers said they expected some 3,000 people to visit exhibition stands showcasing high end products manufactured in China.

Mohamed said Kenya will leverage on a robust bilateral trade with China to achieve the Big Four agenda on manufacturing, food security, affordable housing and universal health coverage.

"We remain open to Chinese investments in areas that bring transformation to our citizens.

"By investing in our manufacturing sector, China will be able to penetrate other markets while creating jobs for locals," said Mohamed.

He noted that China trade week offers an opportunity for Kenyan consumers to purchase high quality products from the Asian giant at an affordable cost.

The three-day China trade fair and exhibition will help demystify myths that have undermined Sino-Kenyan trade.

James Mureu, the National Vice Chairman of Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), said that Nairobi should leverage on exhibitions and fairs to strengthen bilateral trade with China.

"We now have an opportunity to interact with Chinese manufacturers and leading entrepreneurs and if possible apply their successful models to enable our economy to grow," Mureu said.

He noted that Kenyans consider China a one stop shop for manufactured goods that are cheaper and of high quality.

The annual China Trade Week has presented an opportunity for investors in the Asian country to explore opportunities in Kenya and the wider eastern African region.


Kenya woos Chinese investment in manufacturing

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan government on Tuesday announced plans to attract Chinese investment in the East African country’s manufacturing sector.

Adan Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, told a trade forum in Nairobi that Nairobi has rolled out a raft of incentives ranging from fiscal to infrastructure development to make the country a low cost manufacturing destination.

"We want Chinese manufacturers to help Kenya achieve its goal of becoming a leading exporter of merchandise to the rest of the world," Mohamed said during the Guangzhou-Foshan Nairobi Business forum.

Mohamed noted that Chinese manufacturers can take advantage of Kenya’s low labor wages to produce for the domestic as well as foreign markets.

He said that Kenya has already launched its first special economic zone that offers investors world class infrastructure to produce goods in a globally competitive market.

He noted that foreign investors are also permitted to repatriate their profits to their home countries without any restrictions.

Mohamed said that Kenya has signed bilateral and multilateral agreements with over 100 countries that offer Kenyan goods preferential access to some 1.2 billion people.

Mohamed said that as China faces rising labor costs, some of their factories are looking for low cost producing nations.

"We have put in place measures to ensure that a good number of Chinese manufacturers select Kenya for their operations," he said.

He said that Kenya offers a politically stable environment that provides equal opportunity for both local and foreign investors to set up successful operations.

According to the ministry of industry, manufacturing has been identified as one of the key focus areas that will help Kenya achieve middle income status.

Mohamed said that one of the key drivers of the country’s widening trade deficit is importation of manufactured goods.

"So by strengthening our industrial sector we can achieve a trade surplus as well as create numerous job opportunities for locals," he said.

Guo Ce, the Economic and Commercial Counsellor at the Chinese Embassy in Kenya, said that Chinese entrepreneurs are looking to tap into the numerous opportunities available in Kenya for the benefit of the citizens of both nations.

Guo noted that Kenya’s geographic location coupled with stable political environment makes it an ideal destination for foreign investors.

He added that Kenya is now the first step for Chinese investors looking to set up operations in Africa.

The Chinese diplomat said that despite Kenya lacking huge mineral and hydrocarbon deposits, it has managed to diversify its economy to be one of the most resilient in Africa.

Deal inked to introduce Alipay, WeChat Pay to East Africa

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya-based regional financial institution Equity Bank and Singapore-based online payment company Red Dot Payment on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to introduce Alipay and WeChat Pay to the East African market.

Jack Ngare, Managing Director of Equity Bank subsidiary Finserve, told journalists in Nairobi that following the agreement East Africans will be able to use WeChat Pay and Alipay to purchase goods and services in local currency.

"We hope to roll out the Chinese mobile payment service in East Africa by the end of July," Ngare said during the trade forum for the Singapore Business Mission to Kenya.

Under the agreement, the Alipay and WeChat Pay will be connected to the Equity Bank payment gateway.

Equity Bank is one of the largest regional banks in East Africa with presence in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan and Rwanda.

The regional bank said it currently controls about 60 percent of e-commerce transactions in the East African region.

Ngare said mobile payment solutions will provide a convenient platform to the growing Chinese community in Eastern Africa as well as Kenyans who conduct business with the Chinese.

Ngare said once fully operational, the Chinese payment platforms will likely revolutionize commercial ties between China and the East African region.

"Chinese tourists will be able pay for various hospitality services using Alipay and WeChat Pay," he said, noting that East African traders will be able to purchase goods from China using the Chinese mobile payments.

Ngare said that Alipay and WeChat Pay are expected to perform well in East Africa as the region is already familiar with mobile payment platforms.

Randy Tan, Founder of Red Dot Payment, said that Equity Bank is an ideal partner due to its extensive network in East Africa.

Tan said that its payment solutions will enable East Africans to benefit from the modern financial technology solutions from China.

Kenyan trade lobby inks deal with China’s Amanbo to penetrate Chinese market

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s umbrella body for local entrepreneurs on Wednesday signed an agreement with Chinese e-commerce platform Amanbo to promote export of high-value goods to China.

Officials said the new partnership between Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) and Shenzhen-based Amanbo is expected to revolutionize Sino-Kenya trade.

"Kenyan manufacturers and upcoming businesspeople will be able to explore the vast opportunities in China with the launch of an online marketplace where they can showcase their products," said James Mureu, National Vice-Chairman of KNCCI.

He said that a partnership with Amanbo will help address logistical hiccups that previously denied Kenyan exporters a chance to penetrate the vast Chinese market.

"It will be possible for our entrepreneurs to position their products and raise their visibility to Chinese consumers.

"There is need to leverage on technology to showcase Kenya’s leading exports such as coffee, tea and carvings," said Mureu.

Liao Xuhui, CEO of Amanbo, said that a partnership with Kenya’s trade lobby will open a new chapter in trade relations between China and Kenya.

"The Amanbo Kenya platform will help the country’s importers and exporters order and supply products in the Chinese market directly without incurring transaction cost," said Sunny.

"It will help Kenya export tea, coffee, nuts, flowers and leather to the Chinese market," he added.

He revealed that Amanbo that was launched in 2015 has built the first museum of African culture and African products showroom in southern China.

Yin Yingbin, General Manager of Amanbo in Kenya, said the launch of an online platform to connect Kenyan and Chinese entrepreneurs will foster trust alongside exchange of market information.

Kenya considers adoption of Chinese yuan as a reserve currency

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya is considering the adoption of the Chinese yuan as a reserve currency, its central bank governor said on Tuesday.

Patrick Njoroge, the Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), told journalists in Nairobi that a number of African countries are also contemplating including the renminbi as part of their foreign exchange reserves.

"It is inevitable that Kenya will include the Chinese yuan as a reserve currency.

"The only question is when and the timing will be determined by a number of short term factors," Njoroge said during the Guangzhou-Foshan Nairobi Business forum.

In 2016, the International Monetary Fund included the renminbi to its Special Drawing Right (SDR) basket alongside the U.S. dollar, euro, yen and the British pound. Currently, most of Kenya’s foreign exchange reserves are in dollars.

Njoroge said that China’s growing role in the global economy has made the Chinese yuan one of the currencies of foreign trade.

He noted that bilateral trade and investment ties between Kenya and China have grown exponentially over the past decade.

"This has increased the demand for the Chinese yuan by both Kenya and Chinese traders operating in Kenya," he said.

The CBO governor added that the addition of the renminbi as a reserve currency will help reduce cost of transaction in Sino-Kenyan trade.

Njoroge noted that the adoption of the Chinese yuan as a currency reserve will be a positive move for the Kenyan economy given the flourishing Sino-Kenyan ties.

Africa important partner in Belt and Road Initiative: Chinese envoy

UNITED NATIONS New York (Xinhua) -- Africa is an important partner in the development of the Belt and Road Initiative, said Ma Zhaoxu, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations at a high-level symposium on the Chinese initiative at UN Headquarters.

The initiative is to meet the needs of Africa and pursue mutual benefits without imposing political conditions. The initiative will give help to Africa based on respect, and advance friendship and benefits with priority given to friendship, said Ma.

The Belt and Road Initiative involves more than 20 African countries, including Egypt, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Cameroon and South Africa. Cooperation agreements have been reached on 39 major projects, covering 17 areas such as railway, highway, port and power generation.

With strong support from the Chinese government and companies, Ethiopia’s first national industrial park, Hawassa Industrial Park, entered into operation in 2017 and created 60,000 jobs and an annual revenue of 1 billion U.S. dollars for Ethiopia.

New infrastructure has been built in Africa, including industrial zones, railways, motorways, airports and power plants, giving a strong boost to the development of the African continent.

Within the Belt and Road Initiative framework, the governments of China and Cambodia have jointly constructed Sihanoukville Special Economy Zone.

More than 100 companies from the United States, Japan, Italy and other countries and regions have established presence there.

The Special Economy Zone has created over 20,000 jobs and its total output contributed more than 50 percent to the economy of Sihanoukville Province.



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