On Thursday afternoon, President Kenyatta arrived in Bridgetown Barbados accompanied by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma and other state officials. He was received by Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley upon arrival.
During a business forum held at Bridgetown that brought together Kenyan and Barbadian investors to discuss business opportunities, President Kenyatta said Kenya was open for business.
“Kenya is open for business. Kenya is ready for business. We want to partner with you and we believe that our partnership will be mutually beneficial,” President Kenyatta told the investors.
President Kenyatta further added that Kenya is a signatory to a number of treaties in the region that make it a gateway not only to the East African market but also to the rest of Africa.
“Kenya is an entry point into the African market and if your businesses come to Kenya, they will get access to an African population of 1.2 billion,” President Kenyatta assured the Barbadian business community.
He singled out the tourism sector, mobile money, renewable energy, blue economy and affordable housing as emerging areas that present lucrative opportunities for Barbadian investors.
“When it comes to fintech, we would want to see how we can partner to help you develop your product through mobile money platforms not just for Barbados but for the entire CARICOM region,” the President said.
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley echoed Kenyatta’s sentiments and said the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries should work to remove trade barriers that continue to hinder smooth trade between them by involving their respective private sectors.
“Traditionally, Barbadians do not invest in African tourism. Traditionally, Africans do not invest in Caribbean tourism. There is absolutely no reason for that not to happen,” she said.
The Barbadian PM emphasized that private sector investment in the two countries should not be a preserve of big companies saying small and medium-sized enterprises should also be given the platform to participate.
President Kenyatta seconded her views and urged Kenyan investors not to look at Barbados as a single country but an entry point into the wider Caribbean Community (CARICOM) market.
“We should see this region as the new frontier, as the real true Southern partner that we can work together with and of whom we share a very similar outlook of the future,” he said.