Kenya to get Brazil’s help to produce biodiesel and better agriculture
Following the recently launched Common Market of East African Community, a five-nation economic bloc of more than 125 million people, Kenya is an investment hub that Brazilian companies and entrepreneurs can use to seek business opportunities in this market, Brazil’s President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva said at a news conference with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki.
Though the production of such fuel remains small scale in Kenya, a growing number of Kenyan farmers have been increasing the amount of land they dedicate to plants known to be good sources of biofuel.
Earlier in the day, Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula and his Brazilian counterpart, Celso Amorim, signed five agreements to act as a framework for future investments and assistance. The agreements include one that will allow Kenyan students join a university the Brazilian government will build in its northeastern state of Ceara to train 5,000 African and 5,000 Brazilian students in various fields.
On his part, Trade Minister Amos Kimunya on Tuesday decried the trading volume which is currently heavily skewed in favour of Brazil and urged the South Americans to start exploring more business opportunities in the country.
“We are only exporting a very small amount which is mainly hides and skin and a bit of tea ,but there’s a lot more that we can do including export of services such as tourism and joint cooperation such as manufacturing here for the region,” the minister told a seminar for business delegations from the two countries.
According to 2009 figures, Kenya exports to Brazil stood at Sh81 million against imports of approximately Sh4.9 billion.
During the meeting, the minister said Kenya is a good investment hub for it has easier access to many parts of Africa and international markets and is investing heavily in infrastructure which would translate into lower production costs for investors.
He disclosed that the two parties were still holding discussions on the Bilateral Air Services Agreement which would pave way for airlines to commence flights between South America and east Africa.
Silva’s visit is the first by a Brazilian president to Kenya. Silva and a delegation of Brazilian Cabinet ministers, officials and businesspeople arrived in Kenya on Monday from Equatorial Guinea.
They go to neighboring Tanzania later Tuesday and then to Zambia before ending their six-nation African tour in South Africa. The Brazilian leader began his tour last week in Cape Verde, where he attended a meeting with the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).