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Kenya opens embassy in Jarkata, urges business community to tap into Indonesia’s market

NATIONAL
By Mwangi Maina | October 7th 2021

Foreign Affairs PS Amb Macharia Kamau at a past conference. He has urged the Kenyan business community to tap into the Indonesian market. [File, Standard]

Kenya has opened a diplomatic mission in Jarkata, Indonesia to boost the relationship between the two countries.

Speaking on Wednesday at the Embassy’s Chancery in Nairobi, Foreign Affairs PS, Amb Macharia Kamau said the ministry had already sent a team of Foreign Service Officers who are to run the day-to-day affairs of the new mission.

The PS confirmed Nairobi will officially deploy an envoy before the end of the year and that the Kenyan mission in Jakarta will also service regional organisations based in Indonesia.

 “It took us 39 years to open an embassy after Indonesia set base in Nairobi, but we are here now,’’ said the PS during the launch of the Indonesian Embassy’s new ‘Soko la Indonesia’.

Indonesian envoy to Kenya Dr Mohamad Hery Saripudin hailed Kenya’s move saying it will boost economic relations between the two states.

“By establishing an embassy in Jakarta, Kenya will have access to the 4th most significant market globally of 270 million people and the ASEAN population of over 660 million,’’ said Dr Saripudin.

Venture into Indonesia

PS Kamau called on the business community to venture into the Indonesian market to reap big from the largest economy in Southeast Asia.

He said this will see local firms expand and gain from the vast population and market of Indonesia.

“Soko la Indonesia is key and crucial for Kenya and I call upon all Kenyans to tap into it. See the Indonesian market the way you see the European ones or Dubai’s market. This is an opportunity to exploit the market potential,’’ Amb. Macharia noted.

The Foreign Affairs permanent secretary underscored the need for cohesion among the stakeholders to elevate the sector and venture, adding that Kenya remains a vital entry point for the East African region.

Amb Macharia said the markets of Indonesia are wonderful because of the diversity of their products and the Kenyan business community shouldn’t let the distance between the two nations stand in the way of our trade and commercial relations.

Dr Saripudin highlighted the figures from the Indonesian National Statistics Agency noting that it recorded a significant increase in trade value between the two countries of over 40 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019.

The ambassador said the Indonesian government early this year put Kenya on the list of priority countries for trade and there was no better way to utilise the momentum than to further boost trade relations for the benefit of the two nations.

Indonesia in early September launched an exhibition dubbed the Hybrid Trade Showcase 2021 that saw the culmination of Soko La Indonesia which will help in promoting trade and investment in Kenya.

The initiative by the Indonesian Embassy and Kareem International, an Indonesian export aggregator company, aims at promoting Indonesian products to businesses in Kenya and other African countries.

Kenya imports from Indonesia were $588.86 million, while exports were $8.09 million in 2020, according to the United Nations Comtrade database on international trade.

The value of Indonesia’s exports to Kenya grew from about $2.6 billion to an estimated $3.8 billion between 2019 and 2020, while the value of Kenya’s exports to Indonesia over the same period rose from $25.2 million to $26.7 million.

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