Finnpartnership at EU-Kenya and EU-Tanzania Business Forums
3 March 2023
The EU-Kenya Business Forum was held in Nairobi, Kenya on 21-22 February, preceding the EU-Tanzania Business Forum, which took place in Dar es Salaam on 23-24 February. Finnpartnership’s Regional Coordinator for Africa, Elizabeth Okunda participated in both forums which brought together representatives from the EU and Kenyan as well as Tanzanian governments, investors, business support organisations and financial institutions. Organised for the first time, the events sought to promote Kenya and Tanzania as business destinations and identify trade and investment opportunities for sustainable growth and job creation. Each of the events attracted over 500 participants from various sectors.
The EU-Kenya Business Forum was officially opened by Kenya’s President, His Excellency William Ruto who was accompanied by the CS for Investments, Trade and Industry, Moses Kuria among other government officials. The EU was ably represented at the official opening by Thomas Östros, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB); Darren Gillen, Chair of the European Business Council; and Antti Karhunen, Director for Sustainable Finance, Investments and Jobs at the European Commission. President Ruto and other speakers at the opening ceremony, including the Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), Carole Kariuki, stated that the government will work on establishing a strong partnership with the EU that would enhance trade between Kenya and the European market.
The EU-Tanzania Business Forum was officially opened by Tanzania’s Vice President, His Excellency Philip Mango and was joined by high level representatives from the EU including Olivier Becht, Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade, Economic Attractiveness of France; Helena König, Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service; and Manfredo Fanti, Ambassador of the EU to Tanzania. The forum was officially closed by the President of Zanzibar, His Excellency Hussein Mwinyi.
The common message from the Kenyan and Tanzanian representatives was that the business environments for the two countries have improved and are more conducive for investments. On the other hand, the Team Europe delegation acknowledged the strides made so far and offered to provide support to enhance investments and business growth in the countries. Approximately a total of 2 billion Euros worth of investments and funding was announced and signed off by Team Europe during the two events. This was in support of various initiatives related to for example circular economy, clean and renewable energy, blue economy, transportation, development construction, digitisation, trade, and export.
A five-year EU Business Environment and Export Enhancement Programme (BEEEP) was launched to boost avocado, mango and vegetable exports from Kenya to Europe. This initiative is funded by the EU through TradeMark Africa and implemented in partnership with the government of Kenya. It aims to increase agricultural exports by an average of 25% annually and in retrospect grow export earnings. Similarly, the Investing in Young Businesses in Africa (IYBA) programme was launched in Kenya.
Finnpartnership beneficiary, Block Solutions was present at both forums and was among the speakers in panels related to circular economy and construction sector. Diopco Oy, which provides construction, supervisory and consulting services, was also present in Tanzania. The business forums provided a good platform for B2B, B2G as well as G2G meetings with a networking room set aside to allow for one-on-one meetings.