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Kenya courts Russia to invest in Big Four projects

By George Orido | October 26th 2019
President Uhuru Kenyatta with the President of Russia Vladimir Putin. [PSCU]

President Uhuru Kenyatta is wooing Russians to invest in Kenya’s Big 4 Agenda priority areas of manufacturing, affordable housing, universal health and manufacturing.

Kenyatta singled out construction of affordable houses, tourist charter flight services and space technology as some of the opportunities available to Russian investors.

In the sector of energy, President Kenyatta said Kenya is interested in tapping Russia’s expertise as a leader in the sustainable exploration and development of renewable energy and natural gas resources. He said this at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the first Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi.

To bridge the trade imbalance that exists between Nairobi and Moscow, President Putin said the two nations need to prioritise cooperation in trade and investment.

“Last year it grew only a little, but it was still 1.2 per cent growth. We are glad that several Russian companies have gained a foothold in the Kenyan market,” President Putin said as he encouraged more Russian private sector actors to invest in Kenya.  During the meeting, the Kenyan and Russian delegations resolved to establish a Russia-Kenya business council to oversee the implementation of joint trade and investment programmes.

He said there is need to identify ways of improving trade between the two countries, which currently is in favour of Russia, with a trade deficit of $2.3 billion. 

Russia mainly imports cut flowers, coffee, tea, fruits and vegetables from Kenya, while cereals, iron and steel, fertilizers and paper, are the top Russian imports to the Kenyan market. 

At the event, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry signed a working relationship with Roscongress Foundation, organisers of international conventions and public events. The chamber also signed an memorandum of understanding with the All-Russia public organisation ‘Business Russia.’

The chamber’s president, Richard Ngatia, said the agreement will facilitate trade between the two countries.

“The working documents aim at establishing necessary conditions for the active and effective participation of joint ventures with organisations, companies and entrepreneurs of both countries in exhibitions, fairs and other advertising and informative events,” said Ngatia.

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