Focus more on value addition, China envoy urges Kenya
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.