His Excellency William Samoei Ruto, will open the first European Union-Kenya Business Forum, which will bring together 500 business people – 250 from Kenya and 250 from the European Union. The Business Forum is organised by the European Union in partnership with the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and the European Business Council (EBC).
“We seek to establish strong partnerships that would further open up trade and investment opportunities between Kenya and the European market. At the same time, we work on the overall business environment of Kenya and collaborate with the Government to make the country more competitive and attractive for investors”, said Ms Carole Kariuki, Chief Executive Officer, Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA).
The Business Forum is the first business-to-business event organised as part of the EU Global Gateway strategy. A wide range of sustainable trade and investment partnerships will be launched to support growth and jobs in Kenya. The Global Gateway stands for sustainable and trusted connections that work for people and the planet and will help to tackle the most pressing global challenges, from fighting climate change to boosting competitiveness and security of global supply chains, with a strong role for the private sector and financial institutions.
“The EU-Kenya Business Forum is a unique opportunity for Kenyan and EU companies to partner and learn from each other whilst doing business. Kenya provides a unique opportunity for trade across East Africa given its position. EU-based businesses here continue to work with Kenya to increase export opportunities and to ensure high quality Kenyan products hit the shelves in many shops and supermarkets,” said Darren Gillen, Chair of the European Business Council.
President Ruto will join the European Investment Bank Vice-President, Thomas Östros at the official opening of the Forum. The opening plenary of the Forum will include speeches by Kenya’s Investment, Trade and Industry Cabinet Secretary Hon Moses Kuria and the French Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade, Economic Attractiveness and French Nationals Abroad, Hon Olivier Becht.
The following Plenary on Fostering Kenya Business Opportunities and Partnerships will feature Kenya’s Principle Secretary (PS) for Investments Promotion, Abubakar Hassan Abubakar, the PS for Trade, Alfred K’Ombudo, the PS for Transport, Mohamed Dhagar and KEPSA’s Chief Executive Officer, Carole Kariuki along with the Deputy Secretary General for Economic and Global Affairs at the European External Action Service (EEAS), Helena König and the Director for Africa at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Trade, Dora Correia.
“The European Union is the biggest market for Kenya’s exports and we can expand much further,” said Ambassador Henriette Geiger. “I believe this Forum will help the EU and Kenya to strengthen our partnership and to forge new, lasting business ties.”
The Forum will also witness the launch of the EU Initiative ‘Investing in Young Businesses in Africa’ in Kenya which supports early stage businesses and entrepreneurs, especially women and young people in growing sustainable, strong and inclusive businesses and creating decent jobs. Kenya’s Principal Secretary for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Susan Mangeni will attend the launch.
In addition a five-year EU Business Environment and Export Enhancement Programme (BEEEP) to boost avocado, mango and vegetable exports from Kenya will be been launched. Funded by the European Union through TradeMark Africa and implemented in partnership with the Government of Kenya, it will increase agricultural exports by an average of 25% annually and can raise export earnings through agricultural exports by EUR 9 billion, at the same time greening the process.
Furthermore, the European Investment Bank (EIB), the EU Bank will mobilise EUR 1.8 million to support green hydrogen projects and stands ready to provide significant long-term loan financing for the sector. A Joint Declaration between the Government of Kenya and the European Investment Bank to strengthen cooperation to accelerate production of green hydrogen using wind and solar renewable power will be signed.
The second day opens with the Plenary session on the Business Environment moderated by the Director for Africa at the European Commission’s DG for Trade and features the PS of the National Treasury, Chris K. Kiptoo, the Chair of the EBC, Darren Gillen, and representatives from the Kenya Bureau of Standards, the Kenyan Government’s Department of Business Reforms and Transformation and the Kenya Association of Manufacturers.
The Forum, under the theme Trusted Connectivity with the Global Gateway: Sustainable Trade & Investment Partnerships with Kenya, includes panels on circular economy, digitalisation, agriculture, waste management, agro processing and health along with opportunities for businesses to meet each other and Government representatives.