Kenya Markets Trust joined a Kenyan delegation to Dublin, to attend the fifth Africa Ireland Economic Forum. The forum brought together over 300 participants representing business, government, policy makers and civil society.
High-level speakers at the forum included Kenya’s Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Dr Chris Kiptoo, Vice President of the African Development Bank, Mr Charles Boamah, Minister of Aviation of Nigeria, Senator Hadi Sirika, and Dr Nelson Magbagbeola, Secretary General of the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States.
Speaking at the forum, Dr Chris Kiptoo said:
“I am delighted to have led a delegation of Kenyan businesses and business representative organisations to participate in the Africa Ireland Economic Forum this week. We see huge potential to deepen trade and investment relations between Ireland and Kenya, and have been focusing in particular on commercial opportunities in the agri-food sector. I am aware that two-way trade between Ireland and Kenya has been developing strongly – 122% growth from 2014 to 2015 – and we look forward to growing this further.”
The forum highlighted the close cooperation between government and business, with a sectorial focus on agri-business, energy/clean-tech, among other sectors. These sectors were chosen because of their significant potential to contribute to lasting economic development in Africa and because of particular Irish expertise in the areas.
KMT took home some key learnings from the forum, which will feed into our interventions. Some of these ideas are:
- Low-cost grass-based production systems both in dairy and beef farming, putting Ireland very competitive on the world stage with the removal of the euro quota system on dairy. This also puts up Ireland to have the best food safety and naturally produced organic food.
- Value addition driven by best standards putting Ireland as world leading innovative and research based consumer food producing country. Value addition has increased investments in agribusiness, putting the country among the leading exporter of food products. The country exports about 90% of all produced food to Europe, Africa (mainly West Africa, Kenya through Nestle, Bimeda,) among others.
- Cohesion between private, public, and research sectors. Research is packaged for commercial use. Many value addition innovations pioneered by research through private sector and institutions for higher learning.
- Government driven marketing platforms through Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland, exporters association among many.
- Stable and well funded research institutions – funded by both private and public sectors.
- Cooperative led processing and value addition.
- Cultivate collaboration with Dairy master plan to set up decentralized processing units that are farmer driven.
We will continue to encourage sector stakeholders to learn from countries where sector performance is higher, in a bid to encourage creation of beneficial relationships for business growth.