Fo­cus more on value ad­di­tion, China en­voy urges Kenya

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - BUSINESS - BY COLLINS OMULO co­[email protected]­tion­

Kenya has been chal­lenged to fo­cus more on value ad­di­tion to its prod­ucts to make them more com­pet­i­tive in the global mar­ket.

Mr Li Xuhang, the act­ing Chi­nese am­bas­sador to Kenya (be­low), said that by adding value to its pri­mary prod­ucts — in­clud­ing tea, cof­fee and even av­o­cado — Kenya stands a bet­ter chance of bridg­ing a huge ex­port-im­port im­bal­ance be­tween the two coun­tries.

Mr Xuhang said Kenya mostly ex­ports raw ma­te­ri­als, or prod­ucts that do not at­tract enough buy­ers in China. “We need more value ad­di­tion. This is why we need to al­low more Chi­nese in­vestors to come to Kenya to help pro­duce goods more suit­able to the Chi­nese mar­ket. Our man­u­fac­tur­ing and pro­cess­ing in­dus­tries are well-de­vel­oped and we can help Kenyan achieve this too,” said Mr Xuhang.

He was speak­ing dur­ing a Kenya-china trade pro­mo­tion and in­vest­ment fo­rum at Laico Re­gency Ho­tel in Nairobi on Fri­day that at­tracted over 30 high-level com­pa­nies from both China and Kenya.

Mr Xuhang, nonethe­less, ex­uded con­fi­dence that the re­cent bi­lat­eral agree­ment signed be­tween Kenya and China by Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta and Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping dur­ing the first-ever im­port-ex­port meet­ing held in Shang­hai, China, will go a long way in bridg­ing the ex­port gap.

He said China is com­mit­ted to nar­row­ing the gap of trade with Kenya by sup­port­ing in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion. Mr Xuhang ex­plained that China is firmly com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing an open air mar­ket pol­icy by open­ing its mar­ket to the whole world, urg­ing Kenya to also do the same in or­der to strike a bal­ance be­tween its im­ports and ex­ports.

The act­ing am­bas­sador was re­spond­ing to calls by Kenyan of­fi­cials for Chi­nese in­vestors to help in value ad­di­tion of pri­mary ex­port prod­ucts.

Ex­port Pro­mo­tion Coun­cil (EPC) board mem­ber Olive Konje said China should help Kenya to add value to its pri­mary prod­ucts.

“We en­cour­age Chi­nese in­vestors to tar­get value ad­di­tion,” said Mr Konje. He also urged Chi­nese in­vestors tap into Kenya’s coastal seafood po­ten­tial.

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