Kenya urges Japan to invest in energy, infrastructure sectors

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-7-4 8:38:19

The Kenyan government on Wednesday called on Japanese business community to invest in infrastructure development and energy sectors specially in the gas and oil exploration.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said there are many Japanese investors who have expressed interest in investing in the country, adding that his government is ready to engage with and facilitate potential investors in venturing into the country.

"Regional integration will expand the market for investors, enhance intra-regional trade and facilitate the growth of the East African economies for the benefit of the people," Kenyatta said in Nairobi during a meeting with Japanese Ambassador to Kenya Toshihisa Takata.

The meeting came barely a week after the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) extended a 20-million-US dollar grant to boost Kenya's capacity to exploit geothermal energy sources in order to spur industrial growth in the east African nation.

Kenyan and Japanese officials said the new grant will support capacity development in geothermal exploration and assist the implementation of geothermal projects in Menengai 1, 2, Suswa and Baringo-Silali.

"Kenya requires more than 20,000 megawatt of electricity by 2030. A quarter of this requirement is expected to come from geothermal sources," Cabinet Secretary for Energy and Petroleum, Davis Chirchir said last Friday.

The new grant will be channeled to the state-owned Geothermal Development Corporation to equip staff with practical skills related to geothermal drilling.

Likewise, part of the grant will be channeled towards exploration of geothermal source of power in other parts of the country.

The Kenyan government has invested heavily in geothermal development to achieve energy security and propel industrial revolution.

During the Wednesday meeting, Kenyatta said many lucrative investment opportunities exist in sectors such as energy, infrastructure development as well as gas and oil exploration.

He called upon Japanese investors to invest in the country and assured that his government will continue to maintain an environment conducive to investment.

He stressed the importance of regional integration, saying his government is committed to the success of the East African Community. The President appealed for Japan's support towards deepening the EAC integration process.

"We will also sustain the war on crime and corruption as these are impediments to investments which we need to generate jobs and grow our economy," the Kenyan leader said.

The President lauded Japan for successfully hosting TICAD V Summit and expressed gratitude for the support that Japan has continued to extend to Kenya and pledged the commitment of his government to strengthen bilateral cooperation with Japan.

Kenya has been implementing reforms to make it easier for investors to do business in the country in order to make it more competitive to attracting foreign investors.

However, the country has often been ranked lowly by the successive Doing Business Report released by the World Bank every year.

Despite Kenya having the largest and most dynamic economy in the eastern African region, countries like Tanzania and Uganda have in the recent past attracted more foreign investments than Kenya because of ease of doing business there.

Speaking during the meeting, Takata said the government has pledged to continue supporting Kenya's development agenda.

Takata said the Japanese government will support infrastructure development in the country as well as other projects that will facilitate the achievement of Kenya Vision 2030.

The envoy said the Japanese government, as part of the Tokyo International Conference on Africa Development (TICAD V) Summit, has set aside 32 billion dollars in public/private partnerships which include 14 billion US dollars in official development assistance.

Takata noted that Kenya can benefit from this development assistance package that was announced by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the recently concluded TICAD V Summit held in Yokohama, Japan.

Posted in: Africa

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