Economy

Uhuru and Modi in Sh10bn agriculture mechanisation deal

President Uhuru Kenyatta and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi witness the exchange of a bilateral agreement between Treasury secretary Henry Rotich and his Indian counterpart at Hyderabad House, New Delhi. PHOTO | PSCU
President Uhuru Kenyatta and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi witness the exchange of a bilateral agreement between Treasury secretary Henry Rotich and his Indian counterpart at Hyderabad House, New Delhi. PHOTO | PSCU 

India has extended a Sh10 billion ($100 million) loan to Kenya for agricultural mechanisation.

The funding deal was signed Wednesday in India following bilateral talks between the two countries. President Uhuru Kenyatta is on a two-day state visit to the country. 

Kenya’s trade with India is tilted in favour of the emerging Asian giant. In 2015 Kenya imported goods worth Sh205 billion from India, while exports to the country stood at less than Sh10 billion.

“The government is keen to increase the volume and value of Kenya’s export base from agriculture and mineral-based raw products to value added manufacturing products,” said Mr Kenyatta at a joint press briefing with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

He said Kenya is also seeking a partnership in technology transfer, especially on processing of natural resources.

Several Indian multinationals have business interests in Kenya, including the ongoing construction of a power transmission line under a Line of Credit (LOC) of Sh6.16 billion ($61.6 million).

Rising star

The upgrading of Rift Valley Textiles Factory (Rivatex) funded by a Sh2.995 billion ($29.95 million) LOC is ongoing, while another Sh1.5 billion ($15 million) LOC to IDB Capital Limited for development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is being implemented.

India is a rising star in the global economy with its middle class offering a vast market to investors. Mr Kenyatta, who is on a reciprocal visit following the Indian premier’s visit to Nairobi late last year, urged Mr Modi to subject Kenyan exports to the same tariff as other East African countries.

He asked India to improve market access for Kenyan goods such as leather products and pulses. He invited Indian investors to take advantage of the special economic zones in Mombasa and along the standard gauge railway.

A joint trade committee was established to explore further ways of enhancing trade co-operation. Mr Modi noted that in the past three years, investment by Indian companies in Kenya had increased by Sh350 billion ($3.5 billion) as a result of business reforms by the Kenyan government.

Installation of a telecobalt cancer therapy machine from India is underway at Kenyatta National Hospital. Mr Modi said his country is committed to the donation of essential anti-retroviral (ARV) medicines, medical equipment and capacity building programmes in the health sector.

Equally, training has been given to Kenyan oncologists under the India Africa Forum Summit Framework.

Kenya would greatly benefit from collaboration in transfer of technology through investment by Indian pharmaceuticals given the high demand for the drugs in the region.