India will work to reduce trade imbalance with Kenya: PM Modi

Nairobi: Seeking to address Kenya's concerns, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said India will work to reduce the trade imbalance with it and assured the African nation that the effort would be to strengthen its processes and enrich its resources.

Addressing the joint meeting of Indian and Kenyan business leaders here just before winding up his two-day visit in Nairobi, he also pitched for enhanced cooperation in the field of solar energy, which he described as the best way to fight global warming.

 India will work to reduce trade imbalance with Kenya: PM Modi

A file photo of PM Modi. AFP

Emphasising that enhanced bilateral economic ties would be a "win-win" situation, he said India was now the "most preferred destination" for investments as he highlighted the changes in the business environment effected in the country over the last two years since his government took office.

"India is the largest trading partner of Kenya and second largest investor. We will be happy to reduce the trade imbalance and also enhance the level of business," Modi told the India-Kenya Business Forum meeting in presence of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.

"We have initiated the programme 'Make in India' to make India the global hub of manufacturing. You too have 'Make in Kenya'... It does not matter if you make in Kenya or make in India," he said.

His comments assume significance as Kenya has been concerned about the huge imbalance of trade in favour of India.

The bilateral trade stood at USD 4.2 billion in 2014-15. The major items of exports from India to Kenya are pharmaceuticals, machinery, steel products, power transmission equipment, yarn, and automobiles while Kenya exports tea, vegetables, leather, soda ash and scrap metal to India.

Kenya's State House spokesperson Manoah Esipisu had said yesterday that Kenya will urge that its goods be granted preferential status by the Indian authorities to reduce the trade imbalance.

"I assure Kenya that India will always work to strengthen your processes and enrich your resources," Modi said.

Referring to rich mineral reserves in Kenya, he said there should be joint exploration of these.

Talking about enhancing and expanding trade, the Prime Minister said India looks forward to working with Kenya in the field of solar energy under the ambit of International Solar Alliance.

"Mr. President, I am aware that your government has laid great emphasis on the use of solar energy in daily life. We are also working on an ambitious renewable energy programme. India and Kenya are blessed by sufficient solar radiation. Solar energy is a real solution for global warming. It is also a good strategy for providing electricity to remote villages and hamlets. We look forward to work together on this front under the International Solar Alliance," he said.

Similarly, India would like to work with Kenya in the field of healthcare by providing its expertise in the sector.

"I understand that Kenya would like to replicate the Indian experience in medicare and become a medical hub in the region. We would be happy to support you in this process," he said.

India is today the fastest growing large economy globally and is improving its rank in various global indicators, said Modi who noted that his visit here was the first by an Indian Prime Minister in 35 years.

He said India has jumped 12 points on the 'ease of doing business' and 16 points on the World Economic Forum's competitive index.

"Kenya’s economy and its infrastructure make it an influential player in the region. You are the only developing country which hosts the headquarters of UN agencies," he said.

Observing that India and Kenya have had a very special relationship, he said Mahatma Gandhi has been a common inspiration for the struggle against colonialism.

"Both countries have had very old maritime contacts over the Indian Ocean and many Indian companies have made Kenya their base to operate in the entire East Africa," he said.

"Our predicament of the past is same, our problems of the present are same. We have had common enemies. Earlier it was colonialism, now it is poverty. So, as we worked together in the past, we have to work together even now," he said.

Updated Date: Jul 11, 2016 22:34:43 IST