Kenya has assured foreign investors of its commitment to further improve the ease of doing business in a move the Foreign Ministry has said is geared towards tilting the scales from aid to trade.
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma said following a meeting with her Swedish counterpart Margot Wallström on Wednesday that the government was cognizant of the interest Swedish investors had shown in the country adding that more effort will be made to make the country investor-friendly.
“We’re very pleased at the interest we’ve seen amongst the Swedish private sector and I have underscored the commitment of government to continue improving the ease of doing business so that we can really move seamlessly from aid to trade,” she said.
“We want to grow productivity for Kenyans, the Swedish and the world,” the CS pointed out.
She encouraged private sector players to seize the opportunity and invest in Kenya which promises to be a major economic hub with the anticipated launch of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).
“There’s a big interest within the private sector in Sweden and it is an interest we welcome because as you come to Kenya you’re also creating a footprint in the East African region and the continent as we see with the CFTA about to be launched,” CS Juma outlined.
The Swedish foreign minister said a delegation of business leaders from Sweden had mapped out possible areas of investment.
She however urged for sustained efforts in the war against corruption saying combating the vice would “attract long-term investors who appreciate predictability.”
“There was a big delegation from Sweden here and the areas of possible investment range from waste management to industries,” Wallström said.
Trade between the two nations is currently in favour of Sweden, with Kenya’s exports mainly comprising coffee and horticultural products.
Sweden’s imports to Kenya mainly comprise medical and telecommunication equipment.
The Scandinavian nation recorded a 1.2 billion trade surplus in Swedish Krona (SEK) terms in January 2019 compared to a 3.3 billion deficit in January 2019.
The country increased its exports by nine per cent to SEK125 billion with imports from other countries growing five per cent to SEK124 billion.
Kenya, on the other hand, had a trade deficit of Sh102,185 million in November 2018.
Kenya however moved 19 places up in the 2019 World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index to stand at position 61.
The report ranked Kenya the seventh most improved country globally.
In 2018, Kenya moved 12 places in Ease of Doing Business Index to position 80 globally out of 190 countries making progress compared to position 92 in the 2017 report.
Kenya targets to raise to position 50 by 2020.