Kenya is seeking to tap into China’s two key industrial provinces to enhance bilateral trade between the two countries and cut the trade deficit which currently favours the Asian economic juggernaut.
Through the three-day Chongqing Export Commodity Exhibition (CECE) which is underway in Nairobi, 30 exhibitors, four from Kenya and 26 from China’s Chongqing and Sichuan provinces are seeking to tap into new available opportunities through business-to-business and business-to-consumer engagements.
Speaking during the official launch of the expo, Deputy Director at the State Department for Investment and Promotion Irene Mumo who was representing Principal Secretary Abubakar Hassan said such trade platforms offer the two countries an opportunity increase mutual cooperation areas of manufacturing, trade, technology and other key sectors targeted under the bottom up economic model.
“Kenya acts as the investment hub for the region and already operates as the region’s logistics and financial hub. It is also the springboard to Africa, the next frontier with the potential to be the biggest trade bloc k in Africa with a market size of 1.3 billion people and a GDP of 2.5 trillion,” said Mumo.
As at the end of last year, total imports from China topped Ksh 452.6 billion shillings while imports from Asia’s largest economy stood at a paltry Ksh 27.5 billion.
Exhibitors at the expo include manufacturers of health equipment, autoparts, textile and apparel, food processing, electronics, industrial machinery and housing.
“China-Kenya friendship and cooperation have bore results. China has become Kenya’s largest trading partner, the largest source of foreign direct investment and the largest project contractor,” said Zhang Yijun Minister Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Kenya.
Among those attending the exhibition is Luton Hospital which according to Director Albert Mandela has been able to tap through leasing of brand new equipment a move he says has lead to reduced operational expenses and customer charges.
“We are getting the equipment at much better terms. We are going to do a revenue share, we are not buying so we are not constrained in terms of trying to pay back the investment we have put in. Definitely our charges are going to be half of what patients are paying elsewhere,” added Mandela.
The three day expo which is organized by CECE, KenInvest and Amari Consult is slated to end Saturday.