A non-governmental organization from China is eager to boost Kenya’s exports abroad while at the same time reinvigorating investments by foreign companies locally.
The Council for Promoting South-South Cooperation (CPSSC) says the undertaking is part of a master plan to boost China-Kenya relations.
Speaking during a meeting between Kenyan authorities and Chinese investors in Nairobi, Lyu Xinhua, the CPSSC chair and former Chinese foreign Minister disclosed that his organization is ready to address the challenge of trade imbalance between Nairobi and Beijing so that Kenya can reap tangible benefits for being a strong partner of the far east nation.
As a first step, Lyu said CPSSC will spearhead campaigns to popularize Kenyan products in the Chinese market which is currently the single largest market in the world.
“We not only want to bring Chinese products to Kenya but we want to take Kenyan products back to China. We are very willing to narrow the trade gap between the two countries.” He said
Apart from popularizing Kenyan products abroad, the CPSSC will be marketing Kenya as the favorite investment destination in the continent. To effectively sell this idea abroad, Lyu said his association will share ideas with Kenyan authorities on how best to improve the investment environment to make it more attractive to foreign companies willing to set up businesses in the country.
“To attract foreign investors there is a need to improve the investment environment. Investment climate between the two countries needs efforts from the two sides. It requires passionate organized groups like CPSSC. On different occasions, I say, in order to attract investors China experienced the same.” He stressed
His sentiments received support from Li Xhuhang, the acting Chinese ambassador to Kenya. Mr. Li said even though Kenyan products have attracted greater attention in the Chinese Market, efforts need to be made to improve the quality of these goods to give them an edge over exports from other countries.
“Currently, Kenya only exports raw materials to China. This may not attract enough buyers from China. We need to improve Kenyan products. We must have more variety.” He noted
According to Li, Kenya should embrace more Chinese consultants and investors who will, in turn, help the East African country get the right products to enter the Chinese market.
While welcoming the proposal by the Chinese organization, the Kenya Investment Authority chair Anne Muchoki said the government is doing everything in its power to enhance trade relations between the two countries. She cited a recent World Bank report which showed tremendous improvement in Kenya’s ease of doing business index.
She said her agency is happy to assist all Chinese and foreign as well as local companies to establish their businesses in Kenya. Indeed, Muchoki believes Chinese companies can become the pillars of the government’s big four agenda and assist Kenya to realize the much-needed transformation.
“I would like you to consider Kenya a gateway to Africa. By opening your companies in Kenya, you produce goods without duty and export them to all parts of East Africa. We want to have a special economic zone that accommodates many Chinese companies together.” She told the investors
CPPSC members include retired diplomats and scholars. It was formed to majorly promote mutually beneficial cooperation between China and developing countries in areas of politics, economy, culture, education, and technology.