President Uhuru Kenyatta Friday held bilateral talks with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong where the two leaders agreed to boost trade and cooperation between Kenya and the Asian nation.
President Kenyatta, who is on a visit to attend the Singapore Summit 2019, said Kenya and Singapore have led the way in developing Afro-Asian relations.
The Singapore Summit, started in 2012, is one of the foremost events that brings together business and thought leaders from Asia and around the world to discuss global trends in business and geopolitics. President Kenyatta is the keynote speaker at the event.
He cited the recent hosting in Nairobi of the first Afro-Asian Fintech Festival which was co-sponsored by the Central Bank of Kenya and its Singaporean equivalent — the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
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He noted that in June 2018, the Enterprise Singapore Overseas Office was launched in Nairobi to promote trade between the two countries.
President Kenyatta said Kenya looks at Singapore as a “role model for what can be achieved through conscientious planning, diligent execution of people-centric policies, and the unwavering commitment to eliminating graft and inefficiency.”
“Taking heed of the examples set by Singapore and other nations that have emerged from low-income nation status, Kenya has embarked on a transformative agenda to turn our country into a newly industrializing middle-income country by the year 2030, through implementation of the Kenya Vision 2030,” said the President.
The President said his Administration has picked four main areas from the Vision 2030 to increase its focus in the short-term.
He called on Singapore and other Asian countries to invest in Kenya’s Big Four Agenda areas of focus that include Affordable Housing, Food Security, Jobs Creation through promotion of Manufacturing, and Universal Health Coverage.
“Exciting opportunities abound for Singaporean, Asian and other Business and Investment players in those four areas,” said the President.
President Kenyatta called for investments in Kenya’s plan to build new metropolitan areas and to expand existing ones in order to build 500,000 new housing units and their attendant supporting infrastructure by the year 2022.
He also called on Singaporean investors to partner with Kenya in the broad expansion of Agricultural Sector and Processing through the utilization of new technologies and techniques.
“To Singapore, Asia and the rest of the World, our Nation’s message is: Kenya is open for business and investment for players with a strategic interest in tapping into one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies as well as the enormous potential of the entire Eastern and Central Africa Region,” said the President.
He proposed the establishment of a Joint Trade Committee to enhance bilateral trade and investment ties.
Prime Minister Lee said Singapore is keen on increasing its cooperation with Kenya and was also very interested in learning from Kenya’s experience in harnessing mobile money technology to enhance economic inclusion.
PM Lee said Singapore will support Kenya in improving the efficiency of its ports as the East African nation positions itself to serve the eastern and central African region effectively.
Earlier in the day, President Kenyatta visited the Housing Development Board in Singapore where he was taken on a tour of the types of houses that the Government builds and subsidises for its citizens.
80 per cent of the people of Singapore live in Government built houses which are heavily subsidised by the State.
The President was taken through details of how Singapore has managed to maintain high standards in its housing programs to ensure that citizens get quality houses under the program.
The President also visited the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) which manages one of the most efficient and busiest seaports in the world.
The Kenya Ports Authority is already working in partnership with PSA to improve the efficiency of Mombasa Port, which like Singapore is a hub port.
President Kenyatta said he is looking forward to see improvement in the operational capacity of Mombasa Port through its partnership with PSA
The President was accompanied by Central Bank Governor Dr Patrick Njoroge and Housing Principal Secretary Charles Hinga.