Singapore ventures into East Africa with regional office in Nairobi
By Rolex Owino
Singapore is eyeing investments and business deals in Kenya and East Africa as it moves to cement its presence in the region with an overseas centre in Nairobi.
Enterprise Singapore (ESG), the Singapore government agency promoting the growth of Singapore’s overseas investments and trade opened its Nairobi Overseas Centre on Wednesday.
The Centre was opened by Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Adan Mohamed, and Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Dr Koh Poh Koon.
This is Enterprise Singapore’s third office in Africa, which will serve as its regional hub for East Africa.
It complements Enterprise Singapore’s existing regional hubs in Johannesburg (South Africa) and Accra (Ghana).
Enterprise Singapore’s Nairobi Overseas Centre will facilitate Singapore companies’ investments in Kenya and East Africa, and promote partnerships between Singapore and East African companies.
“East Africa houses some of the fastest-growing economies in the continent. Enterprise Singapore sees great potential for Singapore companies to offer their knowledge and expertise across areas such as infrastructure development and manufacturing, which are key priorities in this region,” said Yew Sung Pei, assistant CEO, Enterprise Singapore.
At the opening, six Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) were signed between Singapore and Kenyan companies across corporate governance, e-payment and trade facilitation.
In addition, the Nairobi Overseas Centre will allow Kenyan and African companies, including Small and Medium Sized Companies, to leverage Singapore as a gateway to capture growth opportunities in Asia.
Strategically located at the heart of Asia, Singapore is in the middle of key trade flows from Europe, the United States, the Middle East, Australia and Asia, hence making a good springboard for African enterprises seeking growth in Asia.
On June 12, 2018, the Kenyan and Singapore governments signed Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) and Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) agreements to further cement bilateral economic ties.
The signings were witnessed by Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Shanmugaratnam.
Singapore will also sign a BIT and an Air Services Agreement (ASA) with Rwanda on June 14, 2018. These agreements further boost cross-border trade and investment flows, adding to Singapore’s fast-growing treaty network with Africa.
“Kenya, with its stable growth and business-friendly environment, is the gateway to East Africa and we are positive that our office here will broaden our network of East African partners and strengthen the Singapore brand in the region,” he added.
Currently, there are over 60 Singapore companies operating in Africa, across more than 50 countries, with US$19 billion invested in the continent.
Some of the Singapore companies that operate in Kenya include CrimsonLogic, which is working with Kenya Trade Network Agency to design and run innovative and sustainable services to collaborate with Kenyan citizens and ecosystem.
-Source: African Strategic-Ventures (ASV) & The Exchange.