Uhuru woos Russian investors to Kenya's agricultural sector


President Uhuru Kenyatta leads the Kenyan delegation in bilateral talks with the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industries led by it's Vice President George Petrov in Moscow, Russia. Photo\PSCU

President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged Russian investors to partner with Kenya in undertaking agricultural projects aimed at bolstering the sector.

He specifically urged the Russian business community to partner with the government in establishing a fertilizer plant in Kenya.

“Our current needs are around 500 thousand metric tonnes per year. The requirements are higher if the target is the greater East African market,” President Kenyatta said, noting Russia as one of the largest producers and suppliers of fertilisers.

President Kenyatta was speaking a meeting hosted by the Chamber of Commerce of the Russian Federation, where Russian business leaders drawn from diverse sectors expressed interest in expanding and initiating operations in Kenya.

The meeting brought together over 40 giant Russian companies including leading manufacturers of fertilizer Akron and Uralchim.

Speaking during the meeting, the vice president of the Chamber of Commerce of the Russian Federation, Mr. Georgy Petrov underlined the need, and commitment of the Russian Government, to enhance trade between Kenya and Russia.

“With an annual turn-over of about US$ 200 million, trade between Kenya and Russia does not presently reflect the optimal potential,” said Mr Petrov.

Acknowledging that Kenya is the leading economy in the East Africa region, the Vice President said there is enormous potential in many sectors of the Kenyan economy especially in energy, infrastructure development and tourism which Russian investors are keen to explore.

Mr Petrov further said the Russian Government is focusing on enhancing co-operation with countries of the sub-saharan region and Africa as a whole.
Africa engagement

He said the Russian Government has established a special committee to work out a suitable framework for engagement with Africa.

“Over 200 Russian companies with interest in Africa are involved in discussions with this Committee,” Mr Petrov revealed.

Addressing the meeting, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Head of Africa Department, Mr. Sergei Kriukov, said Russia will continue to strengthen co-operation with Kenya at the bilateral and multilateral level on the basis of the principles of friendship and mutual respect.

Other companies that were represented included Russian Railways, specializing in rail development, main tourist operator Aerostravel, Keny-Tea - Russian’s leading importer of Kenyan tea and EFesk, Russia’s biggest holding company with interest in project financing, infrastructure development and energy distribution.