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Absence of trade missions to Delhi fuelling deficit

Kenya Rahul Chhabr
Indian High Commissioner to Kenya Rahul Chhabr. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA 

Indian High Commissioner Rahul Chhabra has called on Kenyan businesspeople to actively participate in foreign trade missions that enhance linkages to bridge the wide trade deficit.

The envoy said Kenyan traders must urgently tour India to understand its cultures and identify products and raw materials they could export to India.

“In November, a delegation of 50 companies dubbed ‘Enterprise India’ will be in Nairobi to showcase their products. It is these fairs that result in business deals around raw materials, processed products and increased foreign direct investments in Kenya by India-based conglomerates,” he said.

Mr Chhabra added that Kenya-India trade volume of Sh200 billion could be doubled.

Kenya has a strong Indian community engaged in manufacturing, real estate, construction, healthcare, banking and retail business.

Kenya-India business ties have been growing over the years with 2018 registering a Sh194.4 billion turnover largely in favour of India at Sh185.3 billion.

The imports comprised pharmaceutical products, semi-finished products of iron and steel, machinery used for sorting minerals as well as sorghum.

Bank of Baroda

Kenyan businesses exported Sh9.1 billion worth of goods to India among them dried leguminous vegetable, aluminium scrap and wool. This was a 67 percent improvement from Sh6 billion registered in 2017.

Last year, 167,200 tourists from India visited Kenya, being a five-year high compared to 2014 when arrivals stood at 110,300.

The envoy spoke during a meeting organised Bank of Baroda for its Nairobi clients to announce the merger with two rival banks in India increasing its global footprint to 22 countries serving 120 million customers.

The Kenyan tier-two lender said the merger between Bank of Baroda, Vijaya and Dena banks would help its Kenyan customers to transact export-import business on one platform.

The bank plans to open branches in Nairobi’s Muthithi road and Baba Ndogo light industrial zone to supplement the 13 branch network — five in Nairobi, two in Mombasa, one each in Nakuru, Thika, Meru, Eldoret, Kakamega and Meru.

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