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Kenya's intriguing relationship with Japan seems to be growing rapidly

Kenya's President, William Ruto and Japan's Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida
  • Kenya-Japan trade in 2023 reached a historic high, generating an impressive Sh18.7 billion in revenue.
  • The Commissioner General of the KRA reported a surge in goods exchanged between both countries. 
  • KRA commits to fostering a robust relationship.

Trade between Kenya and Japan has so far in 2023, yielded the East African country, a remarkable Sh18.7 billion in revenue, as recorded by the Kenyan Revenue Authority (KRA).

Humphrey Wattanga, the KRA’s Commissioner General noted that the amount demonstrates significant growth in the partnership between Kenya and Japan.

"Kenya exported goods worth Sh4.84 billion to Japan and imported goods worth Sh46.1 billion," Wattanga said, highlighting the increase in the volume of goods traded.

He then went on to assure that the KRA would take deliberate measures to bolster this budding partnership. During his meeting with the Japanese Ambassador to Kenya, Okaniwa Ken, he revealed that the KRA’s duty goes beyond just revenue collection and includes implementing policies that would help attract and keep investors.

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“We are responsible for promoting investment, ensuring a favorable business environment, and facilitating trade," said Wattanga,” the Commissioner General stated.

“We will continue collaborating with relevant government agencies to attract Japanese investors to Kenya," he added.

Concerning border security and facilitation of commerce, Japan is viewed as an essential partner for KRA.

In recent years, the KRA has obtained assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for staff border control tools, patrol boats, automobiles, and baggage scanners, as reported by: The Star Kenya, a Kenyan news publication.

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The enactment of viable tax laws, according to Japan's Ambassador to Kenya, is one approach to building a friendly business climate for investors. “There are approximately 144 Japanese companies operating in Kenya and there are many other investors willing to invest in the country,” said Ken.

The successful partnership between Kenya and Japan is hardly a surprise given how well Kenya relates to other global markets including, fellow Asian countries; and China.

In the last month, Kenya and China spoke about further strengthening their bilateral economic relations. They noted that this could be achieved via business-to-business and business-to-consumer connections at exhibitions to reach out to China's two industrial regions, Chongqing and Sichuan.

And just this month, Kenya disclosed its intentions to re-invigorate road projects that have been stalled with the help of China.

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