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French investors eying Kenya for investment

Over one-thousand (1,000) investors drawn from African countries and about 250 French business magnets will take part in the second edition of Les Rencontres business forum to be hosted by Kenya next month (October, 2017).

Scheduled to take place between 5th and 6th, the forum is supported by French and Kenyan governments and is expected to attract Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Intermediate-sized enterprises (ISEs) who are targeting new markets as well as seal venture deals in areas of agriculture, manufacturing, IT, energy and other sectors.

“We’re expecting a lot of French SMEs and ISEs that will make up the majority,” said Marc Hoffmeister, General Commissioner of Les Rencontres Africa, ahead of the two-day seminar, which will run concurrently in Abidjan and Tunis.

The conference comes amid concerns of trade volumes between the two (France and Kenya) countries, which is believed to be skewed in favor of the former.

Previous attempts like the signing of Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the East African Community (EAC) and the European Union, has tried to achieve trade imbalance not only for Kenya but also other regional markets.

As of last year, there were an estimated 70 French companies with commercial presence in Kenya, a 75 per cent rise from 33 in the country in 2913 – the upcoming event is therefore expected to boost those numbers.

French exports to Kenya have grown over the past ten years, from an average of €144 million in 2006-2008 to an average of €163 million in 2013-2015, posting a 14% increase. They are driven by four main sectors: chemical products, industrial equipment and machines, agrifood products and transport equipment, which account for +/- 75% of all French exports to Kenya.

“This event is designed to be useful for companies,” said Marc Bouteiller, deputy director for Africa at Quai d’Orsay.

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