Kenya woos Chinese investors
10 October 2014, 09:32
Nairobi - The government has called on more Chinese investors to set up their business in the country, Cabinet Secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism, Phyllis Kandie said during the ground breaking ceremony for a Chinese firm's headquarters in Nairobi late Wednesday.
Speaking at the ceremony, Kandie lauded the Chinese firm, AVIC International, for establishing its Africa headquarters in Nairobi.
"I want to thank AVIC International for choosing Kenya as their continental home and I assure that you have made the right choice, " Kandie said. "I am particularly pleased to welcome you to the hotel industry in Kenya. You have picked the right business as we have a shortfall in our national bed capacity and this investment will help us reduce the deficit," she said.
"We are not here to break ground on construction of a hotel and headquarters alone, we are also here to break new ground in employment and access to opportunities for thousands of Kenyans and their families," Kandie added.
Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu Xianfa said many Chinese companies are establishing their headquarters in Nairobi owing to the country's geographical location and favorable economic climate that prevails.
"Star Times, China Daily and Xinhua News Agency are some of the Chinese establishments that have opted to make Kenya the centers of their respective bureaus," Liu said.
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AVIC International chairman, Wu Guangquan, said the company's engagement in the African market remains key to its global business strategy, adding that the company is looking beyond mere commercial interests.
"We stay committed to the bilateral economic exchanges and cooperation between China and Africa. By providing Africa with state-of-the-art aviation products, complete sets of equipment and medical facilities, and training large groups of local professionals, we have contributed our share to the local economic and social development, which we are quite proud of," Wu said.
Wu said in an effort to scale up engagement and investment in Africa, the company has taken the decision to establish its Africa headquarters in Kenya, which he described as a major player in the region that is known for its enabling investment environment and favorable geographical location.
AVIC International was founded in 1979 and over the past 35 years, the company has made remarkable strides in many of its wide- ranging business areas, such as international aviation, trade and logistics, retail and high-end consumer goods, real estate and hotel management, high-tech electronics and resource development, with an overall portfolio of over 26 billion U.S dollars.
With more than 100 branches in over 50 countries and regions, the company employs over 70,000 staff who serve customers in more than 180 countries and regions, including 15 African countries. In Kenya alone, there are six subsidiaries that have employed more than 3,000 local workers.
Han Chunlin, Chinese Economic and Commercial Counselor in Kenya, said bilateral exchanges and cooperation between China and Kenya, especially in the areas of trade, infrastructure, energy, communications, tourism, have greatly improved.
"Trade in goods has maintained a fast and stable growth in recent years. According to Chinese Customs, the bilateral trade reached 3.27 billion dollars in 2013, with the growth rate of 15.3 percent," Han said.
"In addition, under the severe international economic situation, the bilateral trade from this January to August has reached 2.87 billion dollars, which is an increase of 41.1 percent," he said.
He said Kenya's strategic location has made the country to become more attractive to Chinese multinational companies which in recent years has witnessed an all-round, fast and in-depth development of China-Kenya relations.
"Chinese companies enjoy the friendship between the two countries and are confident on the economic future of this country. I believe that is why AVIC-International preferred to establish its headquarter here in Nairobi," Han said.
Nairobi Governor, Evans Kidero, said China plays an important role in the lives of Kenya and Africa as a whole.
"There is no country in Africa that can claim not to have been touched by Chinese influence. The complex, when complete, will add to the skyline of Nairobi," Kidero said.
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