Kenya and Norway are seeking close business ties to strengthen economic growth and create jobs in the two countries.
A high-powered business delegation from Norway is in the country led by the nation’s Minister of Trade and Industry Monica Maeland to seek available business opportunities in Kenya.
According to Kenya’s ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries increased steadily from $12 million (Sh 1.26 billion) in 2004 to $42 million (Sh 4.41 billion) in 2014. During this period, Kenya’s annual exports averaged $11.3 million (Sh1.186 billion) and imports were on average $19.5 million (2.047 billion). In 2014, two-way trade between both countries amounted to $42 million (Sh4.41 billion), with the balance of trade slightly in favour of Kenya by $5 million (Sh 525 million).
Kenya’s main exports to Norway include crude vegetable materials, coffee and coffee substitutes, vegetables, trailers and semi-trailers, tea and mate, fruit and nuts as well as articles of textile fabrics. Norway’s exports to Kenya comprised fertiliser, paper and paperboard, insecticides, rodenticides, fungicides, herbicides and anti-sprouting products. Others are musical instruments and parts and accessories, measuring, checking, analyzing and controlling instruments and apparatus, and fisheries products.
“This forum is intended to provide an opportunity for the business communities of both our countries to dialogue and engage each other and hopefully initiate business contacts and even enter into joint ventures and partnerships,” said Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Amina Mohammed yesterday.
There are currently more than 50 Norwegian companies operating in Kenya with more expected to come on board after the current visit. “Just like businesses all across the world, the Norwegian business community is also recognizing the economic opportunities here,” said Ms Maeland referring to the vast economic opportunities available in Kenya and Africa as a whole. “This is why Innovation Norway established an office in Nairobi in February 2014. They want to learn from you, as well as offer their own knowledge to you.”
She said Norfund – the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries - has invested $230 million (Sh 24.15 billion) in Kenya, while the Norwegian government pension fund has already invested $76 million (Sh7.98 billion) in 11 Kenyan firms.