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Firms eye joint ventures to grow exports to Malaysia


Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) President Richard Ngatia. FILE PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

Kenyan firms are eyeing an increased share of the Malaysian market by partnering with companies from Southeast Asian countries in processing primary products before exporting.

Malaysian investors on Monday held a trade forum with Kenyan businesses with sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing as having the potential for joint ventures and public-private partnerships (PPPs).

“We want to see increased exports to Malaysia and narrow the trade deficit between Kenya and Malaysia. We are looking at partnering with Malaysian firms to help us increase exports to their market as well as Africa,” said Richard Ngatia, the president of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI).

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Firms from the two countries are also exploring partnerships in areas such as agro-processing, value addition, manufacturing, ICT, affordable housing, telemedicine and tourism.

Official data shows Kenya’s imports from Malaysia more than doubled to Sh93.75 billion in 2021 from Sh45.56 billion in the previous year, even as exports fell from Sh1.99 billion to Sh1.86 billion.

“Kenya is keen to increase the value of its exports to Malaysia through shifting the export base from agricultural and mineral-based raw materials to value-added manufactured products through joint ventures and PPPs,” said Abubakar Hassan, the investments promotion and industry principal secretary.

Top Kenyan imports from Malaysia include palm oil, articles of apparel, vegetable fats, furniture, telephone sets and iron bars.

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Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, Nivas Ragavan, said strategic partnerships in trade and investments between the two nations will help cut trade imbalance.

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