Australian investors eye Kenya's growing mining sector
04 March 2014, 20:57
Nairobi - Australian investors are seeking to tap into Kenya's fast growing mining industry, the Australia high commissioner to Kenya said on Tuesday.
Geoff Tooth told journalist in Nairobi that the East African nation has huge deposits of unexploited mineral and hydro carbons resources.
"We are willing to work with Kenya in order to help it to diversify its economy by growing its mineral sector," Tooth said during the launch of the Australian Africa Community Engagement Scheme (AACES) Annual Report.
He said that Australia has a well developed mining sector due to huge domestic and foreign investments. He noted that Australia's mining sector contributes ten percent of his nation's Gross Domestic Product.
"Over the past decades, we have gained a lot of expertise in the mining and other support services which we are willing to share with Kenya," he said.
Last month, Australian firm Base Titanium, shipped its first consignment of ilmenite from its mining operations in Kenya's coastal region.
"The mining activity is expected to contribute one percent of Kenya's GDP," he said.The envoy noted that Base Titanium has already invested 300 million U.S. dollars into its Kenya operations.
"It also plans to make additional investments in order to expand its operations," he said.
Other Australian firms are also currently carrying out exploration activities off the Kenyan coast.
He said that east African nation is making big strides in the services sector. "We can also help Kenya to make more linkages with the global trade," he said.
He added that Australia depends on international trade because it is an island with a limited domestic market.
Data from Kenya government indicates, Kenya imports machinery and other finished products from Australia while it exports agricultural products to the island nation.
"Unfortunately, the overall level of bilateral trade is small compared to other nations such as Britain, China and the U.S.," he said.
Tooth said that his country will continue to extend financial assistance to Kenya. "Most of the funding is channeled to help improve health, sanitation, and the welfare of marginalized communities," he said.
The high commissioner said that they work with non-governmental organizations that engage with local communities. "This is one strategy to ensure that funds are only used for the intended purposes," he said.