The continent of Africa and the Latin America, Caribbean regions are seeking to partner to ensure social and economic growth for their citizens. For the first time in history, Nairobi city, recently hosted the Latin America, Caribbean and Africa Business Summit which brought together business leaders from the two regions. These business moguls are keen in promoting trade and investment between the two regions.
The reason for holding the summit in Kenya was due to the realization that Kenya is the best gateway to the continent of Africa considering the ease of doing business in the country. With various initiatives undertaken by the government, Kenya has now become one of the most attractive investment destinations in the world. According to recent World Bank report, the implementation of key reforms by the government has made Kenya as one of the world best country in ease of doing business.
In its report, the World Bank says the implementation of reforms to improve business climate for local entrepreneurs earned the country a higher score in the bank’s ease of doing business index 2016.
The World Bank cited reforms in starting businesses, getting electricity, registering property and getting credit as being the engine oil of driving investment and trade.
“Kenya launched government service centers offering company preregistration services in major towns, reducing the time required to start a business by four days. Ten years ago, starting a business in Kenya took 54 days. Now it takes just 26 days – less than the regional average. Kenya (also) made starting a business easier by reducing the time it takes to assess and pay stamp duty,” the World Bank said in the 2016 Doing Business Report.
The LAC Africa Business Summit aims at creating and strengthening trade ties between African, Latin American and Caribbean countries, so as to improve the economies of both regions. Delegates at the Summit, took place on 24 and 25 November 2016, are seeking to tap into new and unexplored markets and potential, while linking investors from the two continents. The two regions are collaborating in investment to promote economic growth by exploiting their wealth of natural resources. Delegates who participated in the Summit agreed to focus on creating linkages and investment opportunities in key sectors such as manufacturing, infrastructure, financial, extractive industries, food and beverage, hospitality, agribusiness and ICT.
The LAC Africa Business Summit will be an annual event, positioned as the epicenter of trade between Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Delegates from the LAC Africa Business Summit, together with the Ambassadors of Argentina and Colombia, met with President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House on 25 November 2016.
During their discussions, President Kenyatta called for increased trade between Kenya, the Latin America and Caribbean regions. He stated that it is through trade that the South to South cooperation would be more beneficial to the citizens of the member states
“If we have synergy in both regions, then we can also enhance our capacity through partnerships,” said the President.
President Kenyatta instructed the Cabinet Secretaries of Agriculture and Livestock and Health and senior officials of Tourism and Transport to engage directly with the delegation and to plan the implementation of the projects. The summit took further the discussions on a proposal of having “an open sky” that will allow two-way direct flights from African countries to Latin-America and Caribbean. While meeting delegates attending the conference early Friday morning at state house Nairobi, President Uhuru Kenyatta welcomed this ongoing initiative saying it will be a breakthrough for the two continents in creating business ties and that Kenya will greatly benefit from it. The Delegation presented the LAC-Kenya 2017 action plan consisting of concrete investment projects to be implemented in Kenya beginning 2017.
“For those of us who had the privilege of accompanying the delegation to meet the president this morning, the president has given his clear go ahead and he said the government would like to support even in trying to create the open sky policy that will see a freer flow of goods and services from our regions as we move forward.” Intimated Kiprono Kittony, The Chairman of Kenya National Chamber of Commerce in during the morning session of the Summit.
Colombia intends to help Kenya revitalize its textile and cotton industry. The revival of the sector will help the country transmit authentic Kenyan culture through design and textiles internationally promoting a fusion of Kenyan and Afro Colombian cultures. Kenya will seek to establish Honorary/Consulate services in the Caribbean while Jamaica will invest in Kenya to promote environmental preservation by reducing carbon emissions.
The second LAC and Africa Business Summit will held in Argentina in the province of Santa Fe. Argentina, the largest livestock producer in the world will undertake to transform the meat processing industry in Kenya and to enhance technological transfer for agribusiness and across other sectors. On its part, Brazil has further undertaken to host the global Agribusiness Forum in Kenya in the coming year of 2017 and in its quest to promote tourism, Brazil will bring Globo TV to film Kenya. Further, the country which is biggest Latin America economy would also bring cervical cancer detection equipment to Kenya in order to enhance Kenya’s health sector. Cameroon and Morocco are looking forward to the purchase of land so as to invest in agribusiness project in Kenya.
The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry is to sign several MOU’s with the Afro Chamber (Brazil), Chamber of Commerce of Rosario (Argentina) and Jamaica Chambers of Commerce.
Industrialization Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed was keen to ensure the success of the Summit and pointed out that the partnership between the two regions is essential in unlocking the wealth of its people. The two regions have a lot in common as they are both rich in raw material and human capital which will catalyze the process of doing business between them. The two regions would also seek to build bridges through the development of relevant skills required to strengthening their economies.
The first LAC Africa Summit, held at Windsor Golf Hotel and Country Club, was organized by Ronami LTD and Merging Mundos LTD.