Kenya Chamber of Commerce opens China office

KNCCI CEO Patrick Nyangweso announces the opening of a new branch in Changsha, China. [Mwangi Maina, Standard]

The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) has made a significant stride in its mission to boost trade and investment ties between Kenya and China.

The chamber recently announced the opening of a new branch in Changsha, China, marking a momentous milestone in its history. This expansion reflects the commitment to fostering stronger economic relationships between the two nations.

According to Patrick Nyangweso, the CEO of KNCCI, the newly established China Branch Office will serve as a crucial hub for promoting collaboration, facilitating business partnerships, and showcasing Kenyan products and services in the dynamic Chinese market.

The move highlights the chamber's dedication to making the trade between Kenya and China more accessible and efficient.

This strategic expansion plan is not limited to China alone. KNCCI has broader ambitions, eyeing the establishment of more branches in key regions such as Guangdong, Sharjah, and Ghana. These planned offices will further enhance the chamber's reach and impact, facilitating trade, investment, and economic growth.

Fredrick Mukilya, Chief Representative for KNCCI China Branch, emphasized the pivotal role that the new office will play. It is expected to boost trade and investment, attract more investments, increase the visibility and awareness of Kenyan products, and provide mechanisms for business protection through arbitration. Moreover, the presence of the China Branch Office aims to foster confidence among Kenyan businesses when working with Chinese counterparts.

This announcement comes at a strategically significant time, coinciding with President William Ruto's official visit to China, where he will attend the Belt and Road Initiative from October 17-18 in Beijing. This visit presents a unique opportunity to strengthen trade and investment ties between Kenya and China.

President Ruto is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with President Xi Jinping, and discussions on trade and investment are expected to feature prominently in the agenda.

KNCCI President Dr. Erick Rutto highlighted the strategic importance of expanding into China. The move is aimed at advancing economic cooperation between Kenya and one of the world's largest economies. It is anticipated that KNCCI's presence in China will open new avenues for Kenyan businesses and entrepreneurs, thereby contributing to the growth of Kenya's economy.

The establishment of the new office is also expected to enhance KNCCI's capacity to identify business opportunities, particularly in the export of meat and meat products, a sector that remains largely untapped. China has a voracious appetite for a wide range of products, and the new office positions Kenyan entrepreneurs to tap into this burgeoning market.

China's significance in Africa's trade landscape cannot be overstated. The Asian giant has consistently been Africa's largest trading partner for 14 consecutive years. In 2021, China went a step further by extending a zero-tariff treatment to 98% of tax items, thereby promoting exports and fostering closer economic ties.

The move to open the China Branch Office received commendation from Zhang Yijun, Minister Counsellor at the China Embassy in Nairobi. He extended his congratulations to KNCCI and reaffirmed the embassy's commitment to enhancing trade relations between Kenya and China.

The successful establishment of the branch was made possible through collaboration. DTB Bank sponsored the branch, while the Chinese government provided the office space.

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