CAPE TOWN, South African businesses have a crucial role to play in growing the Kenyan economy following on from the commitments made during the State visit by President Jacob Zuma to Kenya in October last year, says the acting High Commissioner (ambassador) of South Africa to Kenya, Sarel van Zyl.

He was addressing business people from South Africa and Kenya during a business seminar in Nairobi organized by the South African Department of Trade and Industry (dti) in partnership with the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) as part of an Outward Selling Mission to Kenya which was held under the theme Exploring Trade and Investment Opportunities between Kenya and South Africa.

The Director of Internal Trade at the Kenyan Department for Trade, Joyce Ongundo, emphasised the need for Kenyan and South African companies to devise market-oriented solutions to address the growing trade imbalance with a view to creating win-win solutions between the two countries.

She echoed the Kenyan government’s commitment to intensify trade and investment relations with South Africa.

The Director of Export Promotion at the dti, Seema Sardha, said both the Kenyan and South African business communities needed to work together to promote economic growth of both countries. She identified opportunities available to be explored in the agri-business, services, automotive, capital equipment, infrastructure development and energy sectors.

The dti’s new approach to continental development embraces an investment-led strategy anchored on the pillars of market integration, industrial development and infrastructure expansion, said Sardha, who explained that Trade and Invest Africa (TIA), an entity within the dti, had been established with the express purpose of advancing the strategy.

The Chairman of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Kiprono Kittony, echoed Sardha’s sentiments and encouraged South African investors to venture into a number of sectors in Kenya, including energy, transport, finance, manufacturing and mining infrastructure development.

He further impressed the need to advance intra-Africa trade which currently stood at just 12 per cent of the continent’s overall trade.