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After years of consistently losing out to Chinese firms in the Kenya’s infrastructure projects, UK is now seeking a bigger role in the financing of the multi billion sector.
Efforts being mooted to cash in on the mouth-watering infrastructural financing deals that are currently being enjoyed by Chinese firms were strengthened Tuesday with the signing of an MoU between Kenya China Economic and Trade Association (KCETA) and British Chambers of Commerce in Kenya – a move that will see the two nations ‘agree to share’ government deals particularly in the constructions of buildings and roads.
The Memorandum of Understanding is expected to provide a platform for the British and Chinese companies ‘to meet, discuss trade and investment opportunities and explore areas of collaboration in Kenya’s infrastructure sector.
The pact will also see member firms of the two bodies partner and cooperate on some of the mega-projects akin to railway project (SGR) being undertaken by a Chinese company.
Speaking after signing the agreement, the British High Commissioner to Kenya Nic Hailey said the strategic move was not in anyway influenced by his country’s decision to exit the European Union (EU) as a means to solidify its trading relations, but rather the move is aimed at ‘seeking global collaboration.’
“Since both the UK and Chinese are all operating in Kenya, we believe this will help the development of Kenya’s economy, especially the infrastructure and building sector, which will get the most benefit from such corporation,” Hailey said.
The announcement comes on the back of enormous business activities in the infrastructures and building sector between the UK and Chinese firms in the country – but such activities are among individual companies who interact on specifics like contract or transaction.
According to a report by audit firm Deloitte titled the Africa Construction Trends report, 2015, Kenya had the highest number of infrastructure deals totaling 20 projects followed by Ethiopia which had 12 projects in the region.
United Kingdom is the largest European foreign investor in the country with an estimated over 100 British investment companies based in Kenya, valued at more than $2billion – as well as being the country’s second most important export destination.
Kenya mainly exports tea, coffee and horticultural products with the country accounting for 27 per cent of the fresh produce and 56 per cent of the black tea market in the UK.