Over the past two years, Kenya has had a rapid increase of high-level meetings and visits. Last year, Kenya welcomed US President Barrack Obama, Pope Francis and even hosted the World Trade Organisation conference.
This year, for the first time in its history, the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (Ticad) was hosted in Nairobi; Volkswagen SA’s CEO Thomas Schafer announced that after a 40 year pause, by the end of this year, VW would resume producing cars in Kenya; and British energy group Tullow Oil, said it would start drilling for oil in Kenya in six months time.
If Kenya’s boost into the world markets seems sudden, it is anything but that. The country has been working to this point, albeit it slowly, since Ticad was initiated in Japan in 1993.
Just look at Kenya’s Q1 GDP figures for 2016, which increased to 5.9 percent year-on-year. Growth rates in manufacturing jumped to 3.6 percent from 1.2 percent, wholesale and retail trade climbed to7.3 percent from 6 percent and transportation rose to 8.4 percent from 5.5 percent. It remains to be seen if the East Africa country’s adoption of the East Asia country’s technology and methodology has pushed it into the spotlight, but what is certain is that Kenya’s display of power and potential has left investment seekers drooling.
Japan’s ambassador Toshitsugu Uesawa told Daily Nation – a publication based in Kenya – that the personal relationship of trust between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Uhuru Kenyatta sees plenty discussion around sustainability. “Our bilateral relations have now come up to the extent that both countries discuss not only Japan-Kenya bilateral relations, but also African challenges and
global issues,” he was quoted as saying.
Japan-Kenya relations include assistance in the reduction of infectious diseases, rule of law, trade route safety and manufacturing productivity.
Undoubtedly, a portion of Abe’s $30 billion cash injection for development on the African continent over the next three years, will also be channelled into Kenya, further securing its anchor in the world market.