NAIROBI, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- Kenya on Tuesday pledged to assist Chinese investors from China's Zhejiang Province to set up base in the country.
Betty Maina, principal secretary of Kenya's Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives said at a trade forum here that Kenya has identified Chinese investors as key partners in the country's journey to achieve economic development.
"The Kenya government commits to support investors from China's Zhejiang Province to establish their investments in Kenya," Maina said during the China's Zhejiang-Kenya trade and investment symposium that brought together the private sectors of Zhejiang Province and Kenya.
A delegation of over 50 Chinese firms from Zhejiang Province are in Kenya to scout for investment and trade deals in the area of food processing, textiles and clothing, leather sector, construction, automobile, electrical and shipping industry.
Maina said that the China-Kenya relationship spans 55 years and the Zhejiang-Kenya trade forum is important as it brings together the private sector of the two countries in an arrangement of signing a Memorandum of Understanding.
She said that Chinese investors could play an instrumental role in implementing President Uhuru Kenyatta's Big Four Agenda of food security, affordable housing, universal healthcare and manufacturing and hence provide a win-win arrangement within the Belt and Road Initiative.
Maina said that the business forum is intended to begin a new and long relationship and partnership between China's Zhejiang Province and Kenya.
She observed that Kenya has one of the best investment destinations given its expansive market access.
She noted that Kenya has preferential market access at the East Africa Community (EAC), Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), the United States as well as the European Union which Chinese investors can sell to after setting up factories in Kenya.
She added that the Kenyan government considers the private sector as the engine of economic growth with the role of government to facilitate the growth of the private sector.
Wang Xuezheng, counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Kenya said that Beijing and Nairobi have enjoyed excellent relations which has laid a strong foundation for growing cooperation in bilateral trade and investment.
Anne Kirima, chairperson of Kenya Investment Authority said that Kenya considers the China-Kenya relations as very important and it is for this reason that this year alone Kenyatta traveled to China twice during the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai.
Kirima said that in both occasions Kenya's president held talks with the president of China in further strengthening the cooperation.
She added that currently, China is Kenya's largest trading partner and the largest official development assistance (ODA) donor.
According to Kirima, China is also the largest contractor having contributed significantly to the current improved infrastructure that has gone a long way in enhancing the competitiveness of the private sector.
Kirima urged Chinese investors to transfer their knowledge and technology to Kenyan firms so that Kenya can improve the competitiveness of its industrial sector.