Jozephine Gaita: There are many investment opportunities in Kenya

The Speech of H.E. the Ambassador Mrs. Josephine Gaita to the Forum for Investment & Business Opportunities in Kenya, that was held in Athens at 17th of July 2013.

Hon. Athanasios Skordas, Deputy Minister for Development,

Secretary General for International Economic Relations & Development Cooperation, MFA, Hellenic Republic,

Mrs. Vicky Pantazopoulou, Honorary Consul of Republic of Kenya to Hellenic Republic,

Colleagues from Kenya,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen

 

At the onset, allow me to express my special and sincere thanks to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic for accepting to host this Forum on the “Investment and Business Opportunities in Kenya”. Today’s forum is the first one of its kind to be organised by Ministry of Foreign together with our Honorary Consulate in Athens, and it is my hope that this is just the beginning of many more to come.

 

Let me also  take this opportunity to most sincerely thank all of you for having found time  off  your busy schedules  to come  and participate in  this historical event, that gives you an opportunity to hear about Kenya and what opportunities  are available that you can take advantage of as you try to expand your horizons in expanding your businesses.

 

The main purpose is to promote and enhance our economic cooperation with Hellas, through bilateral business relations and investments to Kenya.

 

Our bilateral relation with the Hellenic Republic continues to flourish year by year, and this is well reflected in the interest shown by your participation in this forum.

 

Distinguished Guests,

 

I cannot forget to thank our Honorary Consul in the Hellenic Republic, Ms.Vicky Pantazopoulou, who for several months has worked tirelessly together with your Ambassador in Kenya to ensure that today’s event is a great success.

 

I want to inform you all today,that there is great unexploited, potential for trade and investments in Kenya that can be exploited by Hellenic business people for mutual benefits of both our people. This reinforces the reason as to why, in addition to my participation in the forum, in our midst, there are representatives from our capital, Nairobi, who have come to share with you on what Kenya can offer to the Hellenic entrepreneurs in terms of trade and investment opportunities available in Kenya.

I appreciate the presence of Mrs. Anne Kirima-Muchoki, Chairperson of the Board of the Kenya Investments Authority, the statutory board responsible for promotion of FDI in Kenya. Her presence clearly demonstrates the importance, our Government places on today’s event.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

I want to assure you all present here that, there is political good will to do business and to invest in Kenya. Under our ‘Kenya Vision 2030’ the long-term economic blue print that envisages transforming Kenya into a newly Industrialised middle income African Country by year 2030, where its citizens will enjoy the highest quality of life, Foreign investment is prioritized as a  prime mover in realisation of the  Vision.

 

As many of you have been following our political and economic situation, there has been unparalleled political stability in Kenya since independence, apart from what very briefly happened in 2007/2008, with a long tradition of Free Enterprise and a fully liberalised economy, with no Foreign Exchange Controls and with an entrenched culture of Free enterprise economy.

Our legal regime including the National Constitution prohibits arbitrary nationalisation of private property.  These are some of the reasons as to why you should come and invest inKenya. My colleague will expound more on this in the course of today’s presentations.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen.

 

As you might have been informed, Kenya is the largest economy in East and central Africa with its capitalNairobibeing the transport, Commercial and Financial hub for the region. Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is the hub of the East African air transport, and it has connections to many Africans, European and US cities. With a convenient time zone (GMT +3), Kenya positions itself as a leading destination for Call Centers, Business Process Outsourcing, Software development and other related activities.

Other International Airports include, Moi International Airport, Mombasa, Eldoret and Kisumu.

 

Three more Airports will be constructed in the upcoming Resort cities of Lamu, Isiolo and Lokichoggio under Multi-Billion Dollar, Lamu Port-South Sudan- Ethiopia Transport corridor (LAPPSET) project commissioned and jointly being implemented by the Governments of Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan.

 

Port of Mombasa, the principle seaport of Kenya, is the second largest deep sea Port in the Eastern African Indian ocean coastline after Durban in South Africa. It handles most Imports and exports of the rich hinterland of close to a dozen landlocked neighbouring countries such as Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Eastern Congo, Southern Sudan, Ethiopia and Northern Tanzania.

The Port is linked to the world’s major Ports in Europe, North and South America, Asia, Middle East, Australia and rest of Africa.

It has a well-developed clearing and handling system with cold storage facilities, computerized Port procedures, and a motivated work force.

Labour is plenty and well qualified and all we want is your expertise.

With Completion of the  ongoing construction of  the second Port of  Lamu, Kenya will not only  have a second Seaport, but also  one of the  largest and deep seaports in the African continent with a depth that  can allow modern day  huge oil Tankers and Cruise ships to dock.

 

Lamu  Port will also be linked to Juba in South Sudan through a rail-road  with a branch to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  with an Oil pipeline  with two Refineries to handle oil from South Sudan to global oil Markets. This Multi-Billion Dollar project presents great trade and investment opportunities for Hellenic businessmen and investors.

 

I want to inform you that if you invest in Kenya, your market is not only in Kenya but to all the Markets of the Countries that Kenya is a member, which include the East Africa Community and the Common Market for East and South African (COMESA) Countries.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen.

 

While we take cognisance that, Hellas is a developed economy with a per capita GDP of about 2/3 that of the leading Euro zone economies, such as Germany or Italy, i strongly feel that, using this comparative advantage, the country can easily create great business and investment opportunities to Kenya especially in the sectors they are most endowed.

 

I am aware that, Hellas is a leader in Service Industry especially Tourism, Shipping, Retail and Wholesale trade, Hotels and Restaurants, Public Administration and Telecommunications. In Industrial sector, which is mostly concentrated in Athens, Hellas is a leader in Mining, Petroleum Refining, Food and Tobacco processing, metal products, textiles and Chemicals. There are many available investment opportunities in Kenya in all these sectors as it will be demonstrated to you later by my colleague.

 

We are looking for business people to help us build more hotels in our major tourist areas, more resort cities along the transport corridor that is coming up in the North of our country, construction of more roads, and a new railway all the way from the Coast to Kampala, Uganda. These could be done through Public Private Partnerships, or though joint investors with our Kenyan Counterparts

 

Mr. Deputy Minister,

 

I am also informed that Agriculture is also another Key Hellenic Economic sector, despite facing the challenge of the region being of Mountainous terrain, hence very little land is available for cultivation. There is also shortage of other natural resources. To overcome these challenges, Hellenic business men can consider to invest inKenya’s Agricultural sector for export markets and to meet its food security challenges. Hellas can also consider buying more of Kenyan Agricultural products such as Horticulture, Tea, coffee, Beef and its products.

Hellas is a leader in the production of Olive oil and there is a huge market for this product in Kenya as many people now knows the health value of the commodity..

Hellenic entrepreneurs can also invest in production of Wheat, Barley, Sugar, Rice to reduce Kenya’s dependency on imports as the country is still not yet self-sufficient in these commodities. There is abundant land and conducive climate for their production in Kenya.

Kenya is an agricultural Country and at times have so much produce but suffer post harvest losses due to lack of knowledge on how to preserve the food for later use. This is an area that is ripe for exploitation on value addition and packaging sector and Hellenic entrepreneurs have this expertise that we need.

In 2013, Government of Kenya has set aside 1 million Hectares of land for private Agricultural investment in the Kenya’s coastal region and this could provide a good area to invest.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

I want to ounce again assure you that all is well in Kenya, and you should not base your judgement on where to invest based on what you hear or read in the media. I want you to come and see for yourselves whether what we are telling you is the same on the ground. You have to be willing to take the risks, and also with the assurances from your Government and all those who have been there, the field is waiting for you and our Investment Authority and our Embassy is ready to provide you with all the information or data that you may need to enable you make a decision on your next expansion destination.

 

It is therefore my hope that most of you if not all, will participate at the “1st Hellenic Multi Sector Investment and Trade Mission” to be held in Nairobi this coming September 2013.

 

I also invite all who will come to Nairobi to ensure they have some extra time to sample some of the most enjoyable tourist destinations in Kenya, as this will be an unforgettable experience for each of you.

 

This Trade Mission could be the opportunity that we have all been waiting for, that could turn the relations between our two countries to the highest level of interactions between people-to-people in the business sector, as a result of the anticipated agreements to be signed among the participants.

 

Before I conclude, allow me once again to express my sincere gratitude to the Government of the Hellenic Republic and its people for their hospitality, and for their continued hosting of a sizeable number of Kenyan Diaspora despite the prevailing economic crisis the country has been undergoing since 2009.

 

There is also a sizeable number of  Hellenic community in Kenya  especially in the coastal region where they  have invested  heavily in service industry mainly in Tourism and shipping while other have investments in Agriculture sector. In fact, in recent past,Kenya had one of our past Deputy Minister of Hellenic origin (Bazil Critocos).

 

Since I cannot thank all of you by name, please accept our sincere thanks for your participation to the Forum today.

 

Thank you very much

 

AMBASSADOR OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA

TO  HELLENIC REPUBLIC.