Kenya to collaborate with Japan for trade

From left: Trade and Industrialisation CS Betty Maina Kepsa CEO Carole Kariuki (second), MEDEFi CEO Phillipe Gautier (second right) at a past event. [David Gichuru, Standard]

The state is keen to collaborate with the Japanese government to increase value addition of its exports, the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) has said.

With the balance of trade tipped in Japan's favour, Kenya expects value addition of its exports to help kickstart robust economic growth to help narrow the gap, with Japanese investment and technical expertise.

“We do not only want to export flowers; we want to get perfumes, and other finished products, from them for export,” said Kepsa Chief Executive Ms Carol Kariuki yesterday during the second Japan-Africa Public-Private Economic Forum in Nairobi.

Ms Betty Maina, the Industrialisation and Trade CS, said 2022 marks the 29th year of notable achievements of the African-led development and international cooperation with Japan, through the Tokyo International Conference for African Development, which began in 1993.

She said trade relations between Africa and Asia had “grown significantly”. “In 2020, Africa’s exports to Japan were around $8.6 billion (Sh989 billion at current rates), whereas African imports from Japan were approximately $7.9 billion (Sh908 billion),” she said.

Japan's State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Mr Hosoda Kenichi said Africa had been drawing the world’s attention as a region of extremely high economic growth potential, with a continuing population growth and the increasing role of younger generations. “Japanese companies with various technologies and knowhow can contribute to improving the quality of life of people in Africa, addressing social challenges and accelerating the growth of Africa, which will in turn allow Japan to grow with the vitality of Africa,” he said.

Japan External Trade Organisation, an organisation affiliated with the Japanese government that promotes mutually beneficial trade, will provide hands-on support for collaboration between Japanese and African companies through events and individual meeting arrangements, Mr Kenichi said.

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