NAIROBI, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- Omani investors on Friday expressed interest in investing in Kenya's oil and tourism sectors, a trade lobby said.
Kipronoh Kittony, chairperson of Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), said in Nairobi that Omani investors have identified Nairobi as having lucrative economic opportunities due to its investor-friendly business environment.
Omani companies are looking to invest in Kenya's downstream oil and the hospitality sectors, Kittony told a media briefing on the upcoming Oman Trade Fair, to be held in Nairobi next week.
The inaugural Oman Product Expo (OPEX) has attracted executives of over 100 firms from the sultanate, which will be showcasing their wares during the four-day event.
The trade fair is seeking to connect Kenyan agro-processors, manufacturers, contractors, distributors, exporters and importers with their counterparts from Oman.
Kittony said trade between the two countries remains low despite long historical ties and close geographical proximity.
Kenyan government data indicates that in 2017 Kenya exported goods worth about 16 million U.S. dollars to the gulf state, while it imported goods worth 13 million dollars from Oman.
Kittony noted that Kenyan exports consists mostly of livestock, cut-flowers, horticulture and base metals, while imports from Oman were mostly petroleum, finished industrial manufactured goods and technology goods.
According to the KNCCI, both nations are committed to using the Oman Trade Fair to expand bilateral ties.
"We are committed to tripling bilateral trade by exploiting new trade opportunities in the next five years," Kittony said.
Early next year, the Kenyan trade lobby will send a trade delegation to Oman to network with their Omani business counterparts.
This is part of the group's broader strategy to help small and medium-sized entreprises to access international markets, Kittony added.
He said Kenya's port of Mombasa and Oman's Salalah port will sign a collaboration agreement.
Kittony said that the pact is ideal as both ports serve as regional gateways in their respective regions.
According to the trade lobby, both nations are currently in talks on an avoidance of double taxation agreement.
Ayman Abdullah, chairperson of OPEX, said Omani firms are keen to sign joint venture agreements with Kenyan firms.
Omani businesses also want to recruit Kenyan personnel to work in the educational sector, Abdullah said.
Abdullah urged both nations to take advantage of the vibrant transport links between them.
He said Oman Air currently operates four flights a week to Nairobi and many Kenyans prefer to use the Omani flag carrier to easily access Far East countries.
It takes only eight days for cargo to move from the Oman's port of Salalah to Kenya's Mombasa port, Abdullah noted.
Kenya could also benefit from Oman's expertise in the oil and gas sector to exploit its recently discovered oil deposits in northwest Kenya, he said.
Abdullah said Omani investors are keen to participate in Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta' "Big Four" agenda projects in affordable housing, manufacturing, food security and universal healthcare.