A promotion forum for the upcoming 133rd China Import and Export Fair, also known as Canton Fair, was held in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi on Wednesday, attracting a wide cast of participants, including senior policymakers and budding entrepreneurs.
Held concurrently with a match-making session for 20 local firms that will send delegations to the Canton Fair, the half-day forum took place against a backdrop of concerted efforts to deepen Sino-Kenya economic and trade ties.
Pius Rotich, general manager of investment promotion and business development at the Kenya Investment Authority, said the government was keen to leverage the Canton Fair to enhance trade and attract investments from China in line with a new economic transformation agenda.
According to Rotich, the Canton Fair provides an opportunity for Kenyan entrepreneurs to explore partnerships with their Chinese peers, and secure the capital, technology and know-how required to spur the growth of key economic sectors like manufacturing and agriculture.
“We are keen to partner with Chinese firms, negotiate for technology, financing and machinery required to grow our manufacturing sector, reduce imports and create new job opportunities,” Rotich said.
He added that other strategic areas where Kenya is keen to explore partnerships with Chinese firms during the Canton Fair include affordable housing, special economic zones, and small and medium-sized enterprises.
Kenya will dispatch a 68-person delegation to the Canton Fair, slated from April 15 to May 5, mainly dealing with machinery, new energy and construction materials, said Gao Wei, managing director of the Nairobi-based China Information & Culture Communication Kenya Ltd, a local partner with the Canton Fair.
Gao revealed that the first batch of Kenyan entrepreneurs will depart for China on April 15 while the second batch will travel to the Asian nation on April 25, adding that the fair will be held in three phases, each lasting five days.
Eva Muhia, director of Varet Products, a Kenyan firm dealing with sanitation equipment, said the fair has been exposing local entrepreneurs to vast business opportunities in China.