Kenyatta eyes affordable HIV drugs, economic ties in India visit

President Uhuru Kenyatta is targeting to grow economic and technical ties between Kenya and India in his maiden visit for the third India-Africa Forum Summit.

Mr Kenyatta will hold talks with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on economic and technical cooperation. Kenya will also discuss issues ranging from affordable drugs, entrepreneurship, trade among others.

On Friday, the President will attend a high level meeting on anti-retroviral therapy in Africa as he concludes his visit to India. The meeting will discuss ways of ensuring access to lifesaving medicine to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

READ: India beats China to top trading spot with Kenya

The President will also address a business forum for entrepreneurs on Wednesday. The summit is held at three levels –senior officials, ministerial and the premier Heads of State and Government level. 

Key market

Growing at seven per cent and with a population of 1 billion India could emerge as key market for Africa’s struggling manufacturing.

Kenya exported a paltry Sh100 billion in 2014 to the whole of Asia, while India revved up its exports to Kenya from Sh100 billion to Sh264 billion from 2010 to 2014.

“One of Kenya’s gains from the India-Africa cooperation is the offer of post-graduate scholarships in agriculture by India,” said the Presidential Strategic Communication Unit (PSCU).

Kenya has also benefitted from India’s lines of credit to African countries implemented under the first Africa-India Plan of Action (2010-2013) that was launched in New Delhi on 10 March 2013.

India recently approved $100 million (Sh10.5 billion) to help in expanding operations of Rivatex textile mill and is one of the top sources of Kenya’s imports.

The summit has been seen by some as a move by India to tap Africa’s vast resources for its industrialisation ambitions.

India has increased its official development assistance to Africa recently although not to the scale of China.

The 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit – whose theme is “Partners in Progress: Towards a Dynamic and Transformative Development Agenda” – is expected to adopt an Africa-India framework for strategic cooperation.