President William Ruto has appealed to Japanese businesses to invest in Kenya’s manufacturing, agriculture and technology sectors.
The President said the implementation of the government’s Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA) has opened up numerous opportunities in the agriculture, manufacturing and technology value chains.
He noted that the partnership would yield a win-win outcome, with Japanese companies gaining access to Kenya’s highly skilled workforce in need of opportunities.
President Ruto said Kenya is poised to be the African workforce hub given its youthful population, with a median age of 20, skills, professionalism and diligence.
”We want your manufacturing exploits in Kenya to have local content and utilise our skilled workforce. In turn, this will create job opportunities for our young people,” he said.
The President made the remarks on Thursday during the Kenya-Japan Business Forum in Tokyo, Japan.
He explained that by investing in Kenya, Japanese companies will not only access the Kenyan market, but also the East African Community and the 1.4 billion African market made possible by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
President Ruto also told Japanese investors to exploit Kenya’s arable land which has the potential to make a significant contribution to global food security.
“Africa, including Kenya, has sufficient arable land to produce food for the growing population of the world,” he said.
The Head of State said Kenyan laws protect the interests of foreign and local investors.
“Kenya is a democracy and abides by the rule of law, ensuring that foreign and local investments are safe,” he said.
President Ruto also urged Japanese investors to explore Kenya’s potential in renewable energy. He said Kenya has one of the largest renewable energy reserves in solar, wind and geothermal.
“Japanese expertise in green energy technologies is an opportunity for business that is mutually beneficial to our two countries,” he said.
Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi said President Ruto has embarked on a very aggressive foreign diplomacy campaign to woo investors.
Japan’s Vice Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry Nobuhiro Yoshida said Japanese investors are encouraged by Kenya’s business environment.
This, he said, has motivated them to scale up their investments in the country, citing the KSh15 billion Olkaria geothermal project.
“Kenya’s legal environment supports business and we intend to leverage on it,” he added.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Kiyoto Tsuji said Japan is keen on enhancing the partnership with Kenya and transferring skills to Kenyans.
The National Treasury and Nippon Export and Investment Insurance signed an MoU to strengthen cooperation in industrial development, green growth and promote business of Japanese companies in Kenya.
Japanese businesses are keen in investing in the energy value chain, especially generation and distribution, telecommunications, infrastructure, ICT and food production.