• Africa Meetings: Kenya, a challenge for France
  • Africa Meetings: Kenya, a challenge for France
  • Africa Meetings: Kenya, a challenge for France

Africa Meetings: Kenya, a challenge for France

After Abidjan, and at the same time as Tunis, Africa Meetings were held in Nairobi on the 5th and 6th of October. An edition that had multiple challenges starting with strengthening the presence of French companies in the region. A successful bet?

It is in a particular context that the Kenyan edition of the Africa Meetings  was held on 5th  and 6th of October in Nairobi. After the Supreme Court quashed the results of the August presidential election, which saw the election of outgoing candidate Uhuru Kenyatta immediately contested by his challenger Raila Odinga, the country is awaiting the next election, expected on  October 26th . A particularly tense climate that has not had any impact on the local economy, with a slowdown in activities illustrated by falling prices on the stock market. That said, Kenya, a regional hub for growth (more than 5%), infrastructure and technology, remains an attractive market where there is no shortage of business opportunities. A real challenge for French investors still few to have penetrated the area.

The purpose of the Africa  Meetings was to strengthen the French presence by establishing strategic partnerships with their Kenyan counterparts. According to the concept of this event, born out of the conclusions of the 2013 Elysée Summit, in particular the recommendations of Hubert Védrine and Lionel Zinzou, co-author of the report “Africa France: A Partnership for the Future”. An invitation to renew the Franco-African partnership on new foundations.

Creating an unprecedented space for exchanges between French and Kenyans

With a format that does not escape the current trend, sectoral discussions on finance, ICT, agriculture, urban development, wholesale and retail trade, education, PPPs and renewable energy, round tables with African and French experts and partnerships in trade and investment; and b to b meetings.

Yvonne Mburu, Managing Director of Medin Africa and Advisor to Emmanuel Macron for Africa, is also listening to Adan Mohamed, the President of the Republic of Kenya HE Antoine Sivan, Carole Kariuki, Director of KEPSA (union of local enterprises) Secretary of the Cabinet of the EGH Industry, Trade and Cooperatives of Kenya, the Kenyan edition has kept its promises: to create an unprecedented space for exchanges between French and Kenyans. And for the latter, nothing prevents French economic operators from positioning themselves in a liberal and therefore open country, and which offers favorable conditions for their establishment.

700 French companies in Kenya

It was, among other things, Carole Kariuki’s message. “The Kenyan market is a buoyant market”, whereas since 2010 the number of French companies established in Kenya has more than doubled to more than 700 companies in total and created more than 10,000 jobs. It also points out that Kenya controls almost 40% of the GDP of East African Community, that is to say to settle in Kenya is to position in the whole zone. “Thanks to its economic openness, a vibrant private sector and better education, foreign investors place Kenya in a position to benefit from free trade agreements with the common market of East Africa. Today, the eastern economic bloc in Africa is the one with the most growth in Africa with a lot of unexploited natural resources and a strong urbanization offering French companies a strategic location and a favorable environment. ”

“Business as usual”

And the French Ambassador to Kenya to reassure his compatriots about the current political climate. “Whatever the ups and downs of Kenyan local politics, business is  as usual. This is very important. In Kenya, business is the prime factor. ”

Nevertheless, the uncertainty continues to hover with this new ballot scheduled, if it takes place, on October 26th  and French entrepreneurs are waiting for the moment …

 By Ghizlaine Badri, live from Nairobi

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