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Kenya, Iran to set up tech hub in Nairobi

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Iranian ambassador to Kenya Jafar Barmaki. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Iran is seeking increased trade ties with Kenya through a common innovation centre that will provide a platform for exchange of ideas.
  • The Iran House of Innovation and Technology (IHIT) to be unveiled next week in Kilimani, Nairobi, will offer work spaces and Internet connection for Kenyan and Iranian companies.

Iran is seeking increased trade ties with Kenya through a common innovation centre that will provide a platform for exchange of ideas.

The Iran House of Innovation and Technology (IHIT) to be unveiled next week in Kilimani, Nairobi, will offer workspaces and Internet connection for Kenyan and Iranian companies.

“This centre is the first of its kind in Africa and the biggest in the world that Iran has established to transfer the technology acquired over the years,” said Iranian ambassador to Kenya Jafar Barmaki.

A delegation of 40 Iranian knowledge-based firms in the fields of petrochemical, renewable energy, pharmaceutical, biotechnology and nanotechnology is set to tour the IHIT centre next week.

The delegation led by Iranian vice president for science and technology Sorena Sattari, will meet with the Kenya business community for a business forum to strengthen trade relations between the two countries.

The Business-to-Business (B2B) meeting will allow Kenyan companies to interact and network with the Iranian companies with a view to securing partnerships and joint ventures.

“In our foreign policy, we consider Kenya a friendly county equipped with good infrastructure and through which we can reach the other countries of the region,” said Dr Barmaki.

Trade between Kenya and Iran has been heavily skewed in favour of the Middle East country. Official data shows Kenya imported from Iran goods valued at over Sh10.4 billion in 2019, being about five times the Sh2.12 billion worth of exports made in the same period.

Iran remains one of the Kenya’s key markets and it pays a premium price for local tea, which has seen the country conduct several trade missions to promote the market.

Kenya has stayed out of the US-Iranian tiff in what senior officials see as a way of keeping trouble at bay.

The Iranian diplomats in Nairobi dispelled fears their tension with the US could end up breaking relations with other countries.

Tension between the US and Iran escalated early this month after Tehran fired rockets on US military bases in Iraq.