Kenya can be regional manufacturing hub with more participation of Chinese investors
Chinese investors are able to play a vital role in making Kenya a regional manufacturing hub, a Kenyan industry lobby said on February 11.
Mucai Kunyiha, vice chairman of Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), told media in Kenya's capital city Nairobi that local manufacturers have been losing market share in the East and Central Africa due to non-competitiveness.
"Tapping into Chinese manufacturing technology and finance is one of the strategies that we will pursue to ensure Kenyan products remain marketable both regionally and internationally," Kunyiha opined. According to him, the Kenyan industrialists are keen to form joint ventures with Chinese manufacturers so as to produce goods for both domestic and international markets, as reported by Xinhua.
He noted that some Kenyan manufacturers have already licensed Chinese technology to produce high-quality products locally. He also observed that Kenya was once the major source of manufactured goods to the East African Community bloc. The industrialist revealed that exports, especially of manufactured products to Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi, have been on a declining trend in the past five years due to competition from low-cost producing nations.
According to the lobby, so far over 300 Chinese factories are operational in the country in diverse fields such as motorbike assembly, ceramics and sanitary towels sectors. Kunyiha said that the Chinese operations have created thousands of employment opportunities and have also engaged local suppliers which have boosted the economy. He revealed that Kenyan manufacturers also are seeking to identify niche products that they can sell to the vast Chinese market.
"We can boost our exports to China by focusing on areas we have a comparative advantage such as genuine African jewellery," he further added.
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