Deputy President William Ruto has urged Japan to invest in Kenya to address the trade disparity between the two countries.
He said Japanese companies can exploit the favourable investment climate to set base in Kenya.
The Deputy President asked investors to set up manufacturing plants in Kenya and cash in on the expanded free trade area within the Sub-Saharan African market.
Mr Ruto said the balance of trade between the two nations is heavily in favour of Japan and underscored the need to bridge the gap.
“There is need for increased investments by Japanese investors in Kenya so as to exploit the huge existing opportunities in infrastructure, trade and health,” said Mr Ruto on Tuesday when he hosted a Japanese delegation led by Tetsuro Yano, the President of Japan Association of African Economy and Development, at his Karen office, Nairobi.
“The 40 companies already in Kenya should put their money in this country in form of investments,” said Mr Ruto.
Mr Ruto asked Japan to fast-track its support for Kenya’s Universal Health Coverage project by providing USD33million (Sh3.4 billion) agreed last year.
The agreement was reached in March 2015 between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan.
The Deputy President said Kenya imports goods such as cars, spare parts and machinery at a cost of Sh80 billion while it only exports goods worth Sh30 million.
“There is huge imbalance of trade between Kenya and Japan. This calls for more efforts to address this imbalance,” said Mr Ruto.
Mr Yano said an investment treaty was in progress ahead of the Tokyo International Conference of Africa Development (TICAD-VI) meeting scheduled for August this year in Nairobi to address the trade imbalance issues among others.
“I wish to congratulate Kenya on the opportunity to hold the next TICAD-VI conference. This will position the country as a regional hub as far as trade and investments are concerned,” said Mr Yano.