PETALING JAYA: Malaysia wants to narrow the large trade gap with Kenya as it seeks to boost economic ties with the East African country.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed (pic) said that despite strong trade figures between both countries, the amount of exports to Kenya has far exceeded its import figures.
Last year, Malaysia’s exports to Kenya stood at US$737mil (RM3.18bil), while imports from the country only amounted to US$5.5mil (RM23.7mil).
“This very large trade gap needs to be narrowed but it presents a big challenge because Kenya does not produce the products which have a high demand in Malaysia, such as electrical and electronics products,” Mustapa said in a statement on Thursday.
The Minister, who hosted a roundtable session with 15 representatives from the Kenyan business community on Tuesday, said that the African nation was among several countries in the continent which was currently experiencing impressive economic growth.
He said this performance was attributed to improved political stability and positive growth from their agriculture and services sectors.
“Africa has enormous economic potential. A number of countries in the continent is experiencing impressive rate of economic growth.
“As a trading nation and an open economy, Malaysia will continue to diversify its business relations with the African continent,” he said.
Mustapa said he expected to receive a delegation of Kenyan investors and traders to Kuala Lumpur in the first half of next year, as both countries look to strengthen their business relationship.
Similarly, the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) will bring several local companies to Nairobi to promote Malaysian products there.
“Nairobi is now experiencing a construction boom and there is a strong interest to source building materials from Malaysia,” he said, adding that he met Suraya Properties Group, one of the largest property developers in Kenya, which had expressed its interest in purchasing materials from Malaysia.
He said that Kenya was already home to several Malaysian companies, such as Golden Africa Kenya Limited, which recently established a palm oil refinery plant in Athi River.
Probase Manufacturing is another local construction company based there, and has completed two 10km road projects in the Meru and Samburu counties of Kenya.
Mustapa noted that the education sector could provide another key to enhancing the relationship of both countries, with some 900 Kenyan students currently studying in Malaysian universities.“Many of the Kenyan alumni are currently holding key positions in the Kenyan government and private sector,” he added.
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