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Japan should allow more imports from Kenya

By Editorial | Aug 29th 2019 | 2 min read

Kenya has a special place in Japan's heart. That's why the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 6) was held in Nairobi in 2016. This was the first such summit to be held on the African continent in TICAD's 23-year history.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is presently in Japan attending the TICAD summit, reaffirming the country’s commitment to enhance its ties with Japan, which have been in existence since independence.

Our special relationship with Japan is attested to by the fact that Kenya is the leading recipient of Japanese development assistance in sub-Saharan Africa.

This aid is mainly in the form of technical assistance, grant aid and concessional loans. We cannot take this for granted.

Indeed, Japan has helped Kenya to implement many development projects. It has contributed to the building of roads, improving capacity and efficiency of  Mombasa Port, building geothermal power plants and currently the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia development corridor. 

TICAD 7 seeks to further strengthen priority areas of bilateral co-operation; infrastructure, agriculture, health, education and environment. But as the two sides seek to bolster these ties, Kenya should to push to export more goods to Japan.

The trade has over the years been heavily imbalanced in favour of Japan. In 2016, for instance, Kenya exported goods worth Sh6.34 billion to Japan compared to Sh80.7 billion Japanese imports

While Japanese aid and loans have helped to improve our quality of  life, it's trade that will help spur our economy. That's why Uhuru should push for increased export of our agricultural and other products.

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