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British multinationals will find it easier to boost their exports to Kenya after the UK Export Finance (UKEF), an export credit agency, signed a deal with the African Trade Insurance (ATI).
The agreement will see the UKEF, which offers payment guarantees to UK exporters, gain access to information about upcoming opportunities for its clients as well as local knowledge of firms and projects.
ATI will also provide a platform to raise awareness among project sponsors and investors in African countries of the UKEF support available to Kenyan importers of UK goods and services.
“A close partnership between ATI and UKEF will give African buyers and UK suppliers access to each other,” said ATI chief executive officer George Otieno. “UKEF and ATI will be able to identify and promote real business opportunities where UK and African companies can work together, and to provide the local market knowledge needed to facilitate trade.”
As part of the deal, UKEF will also be able to share risk with other ATI-member countries in strategically important markets in what will increase risk capacity for projects in African countries sourcing goods and services from the UK.
British High Commissioner to Kenya Nic Hailey welcomed the deal saying it will help UK firms single out and capitalise on new business opportunities in Kenya.
“The UK is a global leader in many of the sectors for which Kenya has greatest demand including infrastructure, advanced engineering, energy, ICT and defence and security,” said Mr Hailey.
“In these and other specialist areas, UK expertise can help accelerate Kenya’s development and economic growth.”
Most of the UK’s exports to Kenya are motor vehicles and machinery, followed by chemicals and related products.
Kenya’s rising spend on infrastructure projects, including energy, irrigation and roads, is seen presenting opportunities for UK firms in terms of construction and consultancy work.
The country’s booming telecoms, financial services and wholesale/retail sectors also provide opportunities for existing and new players.
The deal comes as the UK government looks to boost the falling business clout of the former colonial master that started with Kibaki’s presidency in 2003.
Britain in February announced a Sh74 billion fund to help Kenyans import goods from the UK.
UKEF, through the fund, will seek to help coordinate the advance of loans to businesses and entrepreneurs to buy Britain-made goods, especially for infrastructure related projects, ultimately boosting the export of British products to Kenya.
Mr Hailey yesterday said plans were at an advanced stage for Kenya and the UK to sign an MoU which will pave way for disbursement of the fund.
“We plan to sign an MoU in the next few weeks,” Mr Hailey told the Business Daily.
– Business Daily