Japan seeks business opportunities in Kenya

by Elayne Wangalwa 0

The latest company seeking to invest in the East African nation is Sumitomo Chemicals, a manufacturing fertiliser company. This is as Kenya’s economy continues to grow attracting more interest.

“Kenya has a lot to offer in terms of investment opportunities, there are a lot of financial opportunities and I think it has never been better than it is for investors especially now that we have a devolved system,” Moses Ikiara, the Managing Director at the Kenya Investment Authority told CNBC Africa.

According to Ikiara, Kenya’s devolved government system is enabling investors to choose from a variety of projects.

“Japanese companies and people have a way of doing business, they are cautious and right now they are doing investment identification measures. They want to see the centre of our sector, what we are thinking in terms of expansion, where we want to go and based on that they will be able to decide,” Ikiara said.

Sumitomo is particularly interested in the production of liquid fertiliser, agricultural pesticides and other horticultural inputs.

“I think they [Sumitomo] will consider setting up a fertilizer plant,” Ikiara said.

The firm becomes the second company from Japan to show interest in Kenya’s agricultural sector which contributes around 25 per cent to the country’s growth domestic product.

Toyota Tyusho won a 105.4 billion Kenyan shillings tender to put up a fertiliser manufacturing plant in Kenya by 2016. Tyusho beat Maruben and four other international companies shortlisted to establish a plant expected to ensure adequate and steady supply of the plant nutrient.

Sumitomo has over 100 subsidiaries and affiliates and comprises a chemical unit, heavy industries machinery, weaponry, precision products, the Mitsui Banking Corporation and metal industries.

In May, Sumitomo Chemical established a subsidiary in Arusha, Tanzania, to conduct market surveys and research and development on agricultural chemicals.

The company is seeking to further broaden its earnings base while contributing to the improvement of agricultural crop productivity globally.

(READ MORE: Kenya’s agriculture positioned to open opportunities)

Last year, the Japanese government set aside 2.7 trillion Kenyan shillings in public private partnerships, including 1.2 trillion Kenyan shillings in official development assistance.

Kenya’s investment authority is planning to review and develop a national investment policy to boost investments in the East African nation. The authority is also considering reviewing the minimum capital requirement for foreign firms seeking to venture into Kenya.