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Kenya, DRC Governments announce a trade mission to DRC in partnership with Equity Group to boost bilateral trade

Speaking at the launch of the Trade Mission, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Trade, Industrialization and Enterprise Development Dr. Betty Maina said, “DRC is the 6th leading export destination for Kenyan products in the world with agricultural and manufactured goods topping the list.

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Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Industrialization,Trade & Enterprise Development Hon.Betty Maina(centre), DRC Embassy in Kenya Representative Second Secretary Botuli Bosaw Geoffrey (left) and Equity Group Managing Director and CEO Dr.James Mwangi during the launch.PHOTO/Courtesy.

The Government of Kenya (GoK) and the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in partnership with Equity Group have come together to organize and facilitate a 15-day Trade Mission to DRC from 29th November to 13th December as part of sustained efforts to promote regional trade and business growth.

The Trade Mission, which expects to attract over 200 investors and business participants from Kenya, and a similar number or more from DRC as well as the public, will include trade exhibitions, business forums, and site visits in four of DRC’s largest cities – Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Goma, and Mbuji Mayi.

This joint initiative is a result of an agreement between H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta and H.E President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo earlier in April 2021 when the two principals signed bilateral agreements between Kenya and the DRC aimed at enhancing trade and the movement of people and goods.

President Kenyatta noted, “It is a moment of rare regional and continental pride, as we witness our local enterprises coming together in the spirit of “One Africa, One People”. Our forefathers fought to secure not only political freedom, but also economic freedom. The political freedom is secure; economic liberation is the task of our time.”

This comes at a time when DRC’s application to join the East African Community (EAC) has passed the technical committee stage and the Regional Council of Ministers is expected to deliver the final verdict this November.

Equity Group, through Equity Bank Kenya and EquityBCDC, its DRC banking subsidiary, will support to facilitate the trade mission by mobilizing SME entrepreneurs, championing the networking, and matching of local businesses to their counterparts in both the DRC and Kenya, and by coordinating the trade mission.

The mission aims at optimizing the opportunities availed by regional cooperation frameworks such as the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and to leverage trade corridors and create regional supply chains.

Speaking at the launch of the Trade Mission, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Trade, Industrialization and Enterprise Development Dr. Betty Maina said, “DRC is the 6th leading export destination for Kenyan products in the world with agricultural and manufactured goods topping the list. This Trade Mission will strengthen service and product investment between the two nations, and we are looking to explore more partnership opportunities in various sectors of the economy. It will boost trade and development which in turn translates into an economic win for the region and the greater Sub-Saharan Africa.”

According to the World Bank, with a surface area equivalent to that of Western Europe, DRC is the largest country in Sub-Saharan Africa. The nation is offering huge untapped opportunities for access to one of the world’s largest economic frontiers.

This includes exceptional natural resources, such as cobalt and copper, hydropower potential, significant arable land, immense biodiversity, and the world’s second-largest rainforest.

Also speaking at the launch, Mr. Botuli Bosaw Geoffrey, Second Secretary in the DRC Embassy, Kenya said, “There is significant untapped potential in DRC given that we have a current population of over 100 million potential consumers, mineral resources, fertile agricultural land, and potential for political renewal. By empowering local SMEs and fostering foreign investment in the country, we shall awaken an economic giant and increase trade and investment inflows and outflows. We look forward to hosting the Kenyan delegation and will facilitate and support them during their fifteen day trade mission in our country”

Commenting during the Trade Mission launch, Equity Group Managing Director and CEO Dr. James Mwangi said, “We applaud both the Kenya and DRC governments for promoting regional integration and cooperation. The inaugural Trade Mission to the DRC will encourage Kenyan private sector players to venture into the DRC by showing entrepreneurs the untapped opportunities within the market. Equity Group believes in championing the economic prosperity of the people of Africa and we are excited to create a platform that encourages the networking and benchmarking of business opportunities while at the same time availing market intelligence, key elements that promote the growth and success of enterprises in the East and Central African region in line with Equity’s post COVID Africa resilience and growth plan.”

“We have Kshs 500 billion available to support and facilitate private sector and the business community to grow and expand their businesses in Kenya and the region. Equity has operated in DRC since 2015 and has grown to become the 2nd largest bank in DRC.

We have gained enough experience in the six markets we operate in and the region to support businesses that are looking to venture into DRC and the larger East and Central Africa,” added Dr. Mwangi.

Last week Equity Bank signed with Proparco two guarantee facilities, ARIZ and EURIZ totaling €39 million (5 billion KES) to facilitate the Kenyan bank to further support MSMEs.

The key economic sectors targeted by the Trade Mission are agriculture, education, health, sports, and tourism. Others are environment, SME’s, housing, energy, and infrastructure development. Kenya’s public and private sectors have been urged to register and participate in this opportunity. To register, please visit  http://equitygroupholdings.com/DRCTradeMission  and follow the instructions provided.

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Kenyans dissatisfied with government fight against corruption, fear retaliation if they report

Only two in 10 Kenyans (18%) believe that ordinary people can report incidents of corruption to authorities without fear of retaliation or other negative consequences.

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Graphic representation of Corruption and Law. Photo/Courtesy

A majority of Kenyans say the level of corruption in the country has increased and the government is doing a poor job of fighting it, a new Afrobarometer analysis shows.

Findings from a national survey in late 2019 show that among Kenyans who had contact with selected public services during the preceding year, substantial proportions say they had to pay a bribe to obtain the services they needed.

The most frequent experience of paying a bribe was among citizens who sought assistance from the police. And only a small minority believe that people can report corruption to the authorities without fear of retaliation.

Corruption hit the headlines again recently when a report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists implicated high-profile figures around the world – including prominent personalities in Kenya – in using secret offshore accounts to accumulate wealth.

Almost two-thirds (64%) of Kenyans say the level of corruption in the country increased “somewhat” or “a lot” during the year preceding the survey, a 23-percentage-point increase compared to 2014.

Eight in 10 citizens (79%) of citizens say the government is doing a “fairly bad” or “very bad” job of fighting corruption, a 13-percentage-point increase compared to 2014.

Only two in 10 Kenyans (18%) believe that ordinary people can report incidents of corruption to authorities without fear of retaliation or other negative consequences.

The police are most widely perceived as corrupt: 68% of Kenyans say “most” or “all” police officials are corrupt. Substantial proportions of the population see widespread corruption by the president and officials in his office (33%), county assembly members (46%), and members of Parliament (47%).

Among respondents who had contact with key public services during the year preceding the survey, substantial proportions say they had to pay bribes to get police assistance (56%), avoid problems with the police (39%), or obtain identity documents (49%), medical care (24%), or public school services (18%).

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MP Lesuuda re-affirms commitment to development

Speaking after holding aa training on projects implementations with Project Management Committees of all schools, she noted that infrastructure is key towards transformation.

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Samburu West MP Naisula Lesuuda.PHOTO/Courtesy.

Samburu West MP Naisula Lesuuda has reiterated her commitment towards improving infrastructure.

Speaking after holding aa training on projects implementations with Project Management Committees of all schools, she noted that infrastructure is key towards transformation.

“We continue to work towards improving the infrastructure of our  learning institutions. We held a training on projects implementations with Project Management Committees of all schools that will be befitting from NGCDF 2021/2022” she said.

The Legislator revealed that out of the 59 schools, 31 have received cheques  adding that the office is waiting  for more funds to be disbursed.

She also held consultative meeting with top management of KMTC Nyahururu Campus, Samburu County Health Department led by the CEC and Architectural consultants to firm up on some of the queries that will enable hasten the process.

“This is a vision that we are all looking forward to seeing it come to fruition. It gave me so much joy to interact with students of St. John’s college who came to say hello and appreciate the work done so far” said Lesuuda.

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Equity Group CEO recognized among 100 meaningful business leaders globally

Dr. James Mwangi was selected under the financial services category, for championing initiatives that address the 17 SDGs and specifically focusing on alleviating poverty and inequality at the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid.

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Equity Group CEO Dr.James Mwangi.PHOTO/Courtesy.

Equity Group Managing Director and CEO, Dr. James Mwangi is among 100 global leaders selected by Ernst & Young’s Meaningful Business 100 (MB 100) 2021.

The 3rd edition hailed leaders for their role in tackling the world’s most pressing issues and for fostering the achievement of the UN Global Goals.

Dr. James Mwangi was selected under the financial services category, for championing initiatives that address the 17 SDGs and specifically focusing on alleviating poverty and inequality at the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid.

This has been realised through his vision and through his efforts to drive Equity’s business model which focuses on financial inclusion and for running a high volume and low margin corporate, with a purpose to transform lives, give dignity and expand opportunities for wealth creation aligned with a call to push for a purpose first economy in the six markets the Group operates in.

According to MB 100, its membership takes a people centered approach, placing the wellbeing of employees and those impacted by the business, at the forefront of the strategy.

Each leader must have either created positive, direct and intended impact aligned to one or more SDGs in the last 12 months or must have been the driving force behind the product, service or project that combines purpose and profit.

The 2021 nominees included corporate CEOs, entrepreneurs, sustainability leaders and impact investors, representing the best of what business, entrepreneurship and social innovation can be from 33 countries worldwide.

The recognition was curated by an expert panel of 21 judges and the winners were scored across five key areas: Impact, Leadership, Innovation, Durability and Scope.

The 2021 panel of judges included Nikhil Seth an assistant Secretary General at the UN, Stasia Mitchell, the Global Entrepreneurship Lead at audit firm EY and Paul Lindley the founder of Ella’s Kitchen among others.

Over the past few years, Kenyan corporates have increasingly become conscious of how their operations, consumption and production are impacting the environment and community.

This has seen not just Dr. Mwangi receive the recognition but another 4 Kenyans have also been selected from a pool of 500 nominations from 75 countries globally.

Last year Dr. Mwangi joined a league of 14 global CEOs with a proposed a roadmap to “build the economic system better” after the COVID-19 pandemic. He is also an honoree of the 2020 Oslo Business for Peace Award.

In 2012, Dr. James Mwangi won the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year, becoming the first business leader from Sub Saharan Africa to win this prestigious award among others.

 

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