Kenya-India trade ties: Air India to resume Nairobi, Bombay flights after decade

Increased collaboration between the two countries could help address challenges facing the agribusiness sector including: low skills, lack of quality inputs and extension services and poor quality standards

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The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry in partnership with the International Trade Center and the Federation of Indian Export Organizations have today held the business and investment opportunities in Kenya forum, bringing together Kenyan companies with 23 Indian firms (primarily agri-sector) with different interests: investment, joint venture and other business opportunities.

Speaking during the forum, Deputy Director State Department of Industry Nyongesa Wafula, the Kenyan government is keen in creating an enabling environment for business partnerships between local and international firms.

He urged investors in the sector to focus on four priority areas, including packaging and power generation in agricultural zones.

“We also have a huge potential in the mechanization of agribusiness and aggregation of small scale farmers to allow large scale production. We urge Indian companies to capitalize from the deficiencies in these areas,” Nyongesa Wafula said.

The Indian government on its part through India High Commissioner to Kenya Rahul Chabbra said it was keen on helping in the modernization of the local agriculture sector and has already set aside $100 million from the Exim bank of which $30 million has been utilized in refurbishing Rivatex.

He added that the launch of the weekly Air India flights between Nairobi and Bombay will help improve on the trade between the two countries currently worth over $2 billion in 2018.

Connecting Nairobi and Bombay

“Due to increasing partnerships and joint ventures between Kenya and Indian companies, Air India has seen the need to connect the two cities Nairobi and Bombay after stopping flights over a decade ago. We believe this will increase trade not just between Nairobi and Bombay but to other parts of India due to Air India’s huge footprint,” said Rahul Chabbra, Indian high commissioner to Kenya.

Kenya Chamber of Commerce and Industry second Vice President Fatma ElMaawy has lauded the increase in trade between the two countries with various commodities including: tea, mate, coffee, spices vegetables, wood products, oil seeds, grains and seeds having witnessed an increase in demand.

She added that increased collaboration between the two countries could help address challenges facing the agribusiness sector including: low skills, lack of quality inputs and extension services and poor quality standards.

“As a Chamber we are aware that these challenges have limited access to the international markets and the inability to sustain the local demand. We will be seeking partnerships with Indian companies to help improve production and value addition,” she said.

Speaking on behalf of the 23 Indian Companies Chairman of the Federation of Indian Export Organizations Israr Ahmed said India was interested in taking advantage of challenges of trade in the international market including increasing protectionism and ongoing trade wars by teaming up with local firms.

“These challenges provide more opportunities for India especially through South Southcooperation. India is currently the fourth largest trading partner with Africa and agribusiness been the biggest beneficiary has since leapt forward in trade values. Coffee, tea, mate and spices has since doubled in trade values while oilseeds, grains and seeds have quadrupled between 2017 and 2018,” said Israr Ahmed.

The Indian delegation in Kenya consist of companies primarily in the agri-sector with different interests including: investment, joint venture and other business opportunities.There will be a panel discussion on investment opportunities in Kenya followed by targeted B2B meetings with each Indian company getting to meet between 3 to 5 Kenyan companies.

Total exports from Kenya to India $72.57 million (2017) to $137.12 million (2018)

Coffee, Tea, Mate & Spices$11.39M$22.4m
Edible Vegetables$0.9M$19.05M
Pharma products$13.84
Wood & wood products$0.73M$10.84
Oil seeds, grains, seeds$0.01M$4.08

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