India, through the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), has actively launched the India-Kenya Business Council (IKBC) as part of a strategic endeavor to foster stronger economic ties. The primary objective behind this move is to provide an organized platform for Indian corporations, amplifying their presence in Kenya and catalyzing reciprocal investments between these two nations on a greater scale and pace.

The IKBC acts as an essential bridge, facilitating the exchange of information on diverse business aspects. These include import-export dynamics, joint ventures, technology transfers, contract manufacturing tie-ups, and investment promotion. The establishment of the council signifies a notable stride towards fostering a more unified business environment for India and Kenya simultaneously.

During the India-Kenya Business Forum in Nairobi, V. Muraleedharan, India’s Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs, underscored Kenya’s strategic location and strong infrastructure as key drivers sparking India’s interest in East Africa. With an emphasis on Kenya providing unrivaled access to regional markets, Muraleedharan made it clear that his focus lay heavily on fostering investment opportunities.

Muraleedharan noted, “I am cognizant that conducting business in Kenya entails more than simply catering to a market of approximately 54 million Kenyans; it also involves extending our reach across the entirety of East Africa, an area populated by over 300 million.”

Rebecca Miano, the Chief Trade Strategist, welcomed the establishment of IKBC and urged traders to seize on this economic cooperation. She passionately encouraged stakeholders, saying, “Let us organize activities that stimulate trade.” She underscored particularly significant sectors for potential collaboration – ICT, Pharmaceuticals, and the Manufacturing-Infrastructure-Agriculture (IMA) sectors.

Miano affirmed, “We acknowledge the milestones India has achieved in these domains; furthermore, we perceive abundant prospects for collaboration and mutual learning from one another’s experiences.”

The forum further underscored that both countries’ youthful populations hold promising investment potential. India, for instance, boasts the host status of over 65% of its citizens under 35 years old. Similarly, approximately three-quarters or about 75% to be precise, of Kenya’s population falls below this age mark. Such demographics not only symbolize youthfulness on an unprecedented scale but also present a significant opportunity ripe with economic growth and collaboration.

Statista’s 2022 data unveils a trade balance favoring India, standing robustly at Sh211.42 billion. Interestingly, this economic prowess manifests itself through significant Indian exports to Tanzania in the East Africa region for the financial year of 2023, with Kenya ranking second. Demonstrating substantial economic engagement between these two nations, inflows from India into Kenya alone amount to an impressive $3.3 billion (Sh502.7 billion).

Soda ash, vegetables, tea, leather, and metal scrap are among Kenya’s exports to India. Meanwhile, it imports petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, steel products, machinery – including power transmission equipment. The Indian-Kenyan business communities’ newfound synergy fuels this diverse trade relationship, setting the stage for further collaboration and economic growth.

Nurturing a robust economic partnership and creating avenues for shared prosperity and sustainable development in both nations, this is the commitment underscored by establishing the India-Kenya Business Council. As it positions itself as a catalyst for collaboration, exciting possibilities unfold in the future Indian, as well as Kenyan, business landscapes.