The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KNCCI) advances its economic diplomacy mandate by maintaining a mutual working relationship with foreign embassies for business exchange and trade promotion. In this regard, this morning the Chamber Leadership led by the Chamber President Mr. Richard Ngatia hosted the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Nairobi Committee comprising of Ambassador Sasirit Tangulrat of Thailand, Chargé d’Affaires Fatin Zafirah Haris of Malaysia, Ambassador Mohamad Hery Saripudin of Indonesia and Ambassador Marie Charlotte G. Tang of the Philippines.

Mr. Ngatia gave a presentation highlighting the salient factors that make Kenya a favorable trade destination which include a vibrant private sector and progressive economic reforms. He highlighted the available investment opportunities in key sectors of manufacturing, food security, blue economy, and invited the ASEAN countries to take advantage of the incentives in the Special Economic Zones and Export Processing Zones. Kenya is a member of several regional economic blocs including EAC, COMESA and AfCFTA which grants wider market access to fast moving consumer goods. The country’s well established physical and digital infrastructure positions it to serve as a distribution base to service Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia.

Trade statistics between Kenya and the ASEAN countries of Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines indicate a trade imbalance in favour of the ASEAN countries. These presents an opportunity for Kenya to increase its exports in agricultural products such as tea, coffee, avocado, fruits and vegetables. Other areas of cooperation with ASEAN countries include business benchmarking in the digital economy, agro-processing, education and TVET training.

The members of the ASEAN Nairobi Committee pledged their commitment to work closely with KNCCI to bridging the trade imbalance. This will be made possible through regular exchange of trade information, business opportunities, market studies, statistics and publications that would avail investment information across all the countries.

It was proposed to establish a Joint Business Council that will actively promote trade relations between Kenya and the ASEAN countries. In addition, the Chamber will work closely with the committee to facilitate business networking platforms by hosting joint trade missions, B2Bs, business exhibitions and trade fairs.  The Committee invited KNCCI members to partake in the upcoming Africa-Asia Expo scheduled to take place on the 9th-11th November 2022 at the World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.