Kenya will in July host the China Trade Week Expo, which will provide an opportunity for some 150 Chinese exhibitors to showcase latest products, organizers said on Wednesday.
MIE Events, the organizer, said buyers from East Africa will be able to meet face to face with manufacturers of high quality Chinese products at the expo which will be held in Nairobi from July 1 to 3.
“The event will help to enhance the growing bilateral trade between China and the East African region,” Events Managing Director David Wang told a media briefing in Nairobi.
The event will display products including construction equipment, solar energy, home furnishing as well as consumer electronics.
Wang said most of the region’s trade with China is conducted via online platforms, which has challenges due to language and cultural differences.
“The expo will help to overcome this by allowing personal interactions which improves business confidence,” he said. “Kenya is the most developed economy in eastern Africa and also the economic, commercial, and logistical hub of the entire region. Importantly, the China-Kenya economic cooperation and trade in various fields has gained momentum over the years, and it is the very reason why we are holding the China Trade Week in Nairobi.”
Wang said a lot of Chinese companies are keen to expand their operations into developing countries such as Kenya.
“We strongly believe that this event will provide an opportunity for Kenyan entrepreneurs to grow strong business partnerships with Chinese companies, and benefit from the industrial capacity and a wealth of knowledge from China,” he added.
With more Chinese goods coming into the continent, African countries have been holding similar exhibitions in recent years, like those in Uganda and Angola.
African businessmen are also flying to China to buy Chinese products at lower price and to promote African goods including wood carvings, gem stones and traditional art.
Gedella from Cameroon and Hassam from Niger came to China’s world famous marketplace Yiwu years ago. They now run their own shops in the city.
Some of the African traders have even settled down in China. Their children went to schools in China and speak fluent Chinese.
MIE Events International Director Gary Robinson said China has, over the past decade, become one of Kenya’s largest trading partners.
“This is because China produces goods that meet the needs of the local population,” he said, adding that the trade fair will also provide an opportunity for Chinese firms to establish joint venture manufacturing units with Kenyan companies.
Robinson said as the cost of manufacturing in China increases, manufacturers are looking to move their operations to low cost countries such as Kenya.
“Kenya’s strategic location makes it an ideal gateway to the rest of Africa,” he said. “A lot of small and medium size companies are under pressure to source high quality goods at competitive prices. China offers the most competitive price for most manufactured goods,” he said.
Official data indicates that bilateral trade between China and Kenya rose 53 percent to a record high of over 5 billion U.S. dollar in 2014.