Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam is in Kenya with a high-powered business delegation that is scouting for partnerships in key sectors of the economy, including technology, manufacturing and construction.
Mr Shanmugaratnam also presided over the opening of his country’s regional business office in Nairobi.
Representatives of more than 20 companies from the Asian nation, including executives from Meinhardt Group – one of the contractors working on Africa’s tallest building (Pinnacle Tower) are in the delegation.
Mr Shanmugaratnam said Singapore, a First World country, seeks to ride on the office to boost investments in the wider East African market.
The deputy prime minister also witnessed the signing of six memoranda of understanding, including a deal by online payment firm Red Dot to provide an alternative e-payment platform to Equity Bank.
The list of deals that were signed includes a partnership between Singapore-based CrimsonLogic and Kenya Trade Network Agency (Kentrade) on technology upgrade to ease cargo clearance.
CrimsonLogic is the company that was in 2012 awarded the contract to develop the Kenya National
Electronic Single Window System – which automated customs clearance and cut cargo dwell time at the sea and air ports.
AASK Advisory Services of Singapore also tied up with local corporate law firm Anjarwalla & Khanna to provide advisory and audit services while vCargo Cloud struck a deal with Kenya’s chamber of commerce to develop an e-certificate of origin for enhanced verification of trade documents.
Kenya and Singapore on Tuesday signed an avoidance of double taxation (DTA) pact that will see their respective firms pay taxes only once when their trade traverse the two states.
“Kenya is the gateway to East Africa and we’re positive that our office here will broaden our network of East African partners and strengthen the Singapore brand in the region,” said Yew Sung Pei, assistant CEO at Enterprise Singapore – the promoter of foreign investments for Singaporean firms.
The Nairobi overseas office is Singapore’s third in Africa, besides the ones in Accra and Johannesburg.
Kenya imported Sh7.2 billion ($71.4 million) worth of goods from Singapore last year while exports to the Asian nation stood at Sh1.4 billion, presenting a trade imbalance in favour of Singapore.