Kenya, the last leg of the 2nd African Opening
On his official trip to Africa from 31 May to 2 June 2016, the President of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, visited Uganda and Kenya. He was accompanied by over 150 representatives of the Turkish business community who were given the opportunity, organised by DEİK, to learn more about the investment environment and business potential in Africa in general and in Uganda and Kenya in particular.
The DEİK/Turkey-Kenya Business Forum organised by DEİK and held on 2 June 2016 was attended by the President of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the President of the Republic of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, the Economics Minister of the Republic of Turkey, Nihat Zeybekci, the Foreign Minister and Minister for International Trade, Dr. Amina C. Mohamed Jibril, DEİK President Ömer Cihad Vardan and the President of the Kenyan National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Kiporono Kittony (KNCCI). The event was held in Kenya's capital Nairobi.
The Turkish president advocated more advanced economic ties between Turkey and Kenya, two countries in secure and stable geographic environments. Both countries were situated in positions of strategic importance in their respective regions. Turkey was closely watching Kenya's activities in fighting the financial crisis and maintaining financial discipline, President Erdoğan said, and continued: "For us the stability and prosperity of our brotherly country Kenya is no different from the stability and prosperity in our own country." He spoke of the necessity to connect the two countries logistically, and explained that he and his hosts had discussed the issues of double taxation, a preferential trade agreement and the involvement of the private sector in infrastructure projects in Kenya on the basis of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model. The Turkish president set a trade target of USD 1 billion, and called upon Turkish and Kenyan businesspeople to invest in the other country.
The President of the Republic of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, spoke of his desire to advance the partnership between the two countries. His government was currently working very hard to transform Kenya into an investor-friendly country and investment destination. In this context, the private sector and its entrepreneurial spirit played an important role which he very much appreciated. Business in his country was a "smart investment" said President Kenyatta. His goal was to turn the country into a hub that connected East Africa by air, road and rail, thereby creating an environment conducive to business and providing business opportunities.
DEİK President Ömer Cihad Vardan spoke of his commitment to the development of relations between the Turkish and Kenyan business communities. Referring to the quickly growing strategic importance of the East African and Red Sea hinterland, he praised Kenya as an important country that provided stability to the region. Kenya's integration efforts in East Africa put the country in the position of a guarantor of stability and prosperity. He expressed his hope that Kenya become a regional centre and further improve its growth performance. "We want to established efficient cooperation with Kenya on all levels," Vardan said and continued: "The direct flight connection to Mombasa, established in 2012, offers great opportunities. Thanks to an easier access and a conducive legal framework, created by our governments, we now have more opportunities than ever to invigorate our investment relations."
At the closing session of the Forum DEİK and the Kenyan National Chamber of Commerce and Industry signed a Protocol of Understanding on the establishment of a Turkey-Kenya Business Council.
For more information about Kenya please refer to the Infographic notes prepared by DEİK.