Kenya and Botswana have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that sees the two countries look to build their trade & Investment partnerships in agriculture ,agri-business, ICT, horticulture and manufacturing among others.
Speaking during the Kenyan-Botswana Forum in Nairobi, the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, Adan Mohamed confirmed Kenya had been proactive in its efforts to improve relations between the two nations to capitalize on business and Investment opportunities for their mutual benefit.
“We are excited at the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding as a show of commitment to strengthen our trade and investment relationship with Botswana as we seek to leverage our competitive advantages in diverse industries for our mutual benefit. We have had productive trade connections in the past and the forum today will further that bond as we expand our portfolio of commodities to develop and diversify our economic capacity,” says Mr. Mohamed.
Following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to Gaborone to attend the Botswana-Kenya Business Forum in June this year and the subsequent visit by Botswana’s President, Ian khama to Kenya in the same month, both countries have increased their joint efforts towards creating an enabling platform for increased partnerships for companies from both nations to conduct business.
“Being part of EAC and COMESA trading blocs Kenya has achieved an improved status with our counterparts and this has provided us with a favorable reputation in the global economy. We now want to leverage this global perception to further the country’s economic capacity for production and expand our trade commodity variety to access different markets,” said Mohamed.
According to the State Minister, Investment, Trade and Industry Botswana, Vincent T. Seretse, his country was committed to improve relations and leverage Kenya’s competitive positioning in Africa to improve his country’s economic capabilities.
”Following our progressive efforts in June this year, this forum will showcase our resolve to strengthening bilateral relations between Kenyan and Botswana. We are committed to exploring alternative industries to facilitate increased trade in ICT, agri-business among others to promote the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for both nations. We look forward to increased interaction in the coming months and years,” said Seretse
Kenyan exports to Botswana in 2014 stood at Ksh. 834 million, according to the Kenya Revenue Authority Customs Department (KRACD) but drooped to Ksh. 451 million by the beginning of 2016 following reduced trade between the African nations.
Kenya’s main imports from Botswana are general electricals, rubber material, clothing, furniture, household electronics, television receivers and pottery whilst the country exports pharmaceuticals, mineral oils, fruit juices, instruments and appliances, lighting and fittings.
This MOU signing comes a time when Kenya has ramped up the local business environment, supported by the recent improvement in the Ease of Doing Business ranking to position 92. This testifies to the numerous regulatory changes seen and developments experienced in the Kenyan business climate.
Improved regulatory policies and tax incentives for export based industries like Special economic zones in Mombasa, Lamu and Kisumu will reap benefits in the foreseeable future marketing Kenya as a preferred investment destination.
The one-day forum was jointly organised by the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce, Kenya Investment Authority and its counterpart in Botswana, the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) among others.
The Forum presents a platform for high level discussions between decision makers, business organizations, economic communities and other participants to assist the government’s efforts to actualize its long-term plans under the country’s vision 2030 strategy to create a robust and diverse economy.