A host of French firms have inked billion dollar deals with Kenya in an effort to strengthen economic ties between the two nations.
This follows French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Kenya, the first by a sitting French Head of State since Kenya gained independence in 1963, which has heralded the signing of deals estimated to be worth two billion euros (Ksh.226.6 trillion).
The French President arrived in Kenya on Wednesday for a two-day State visit where he was received by President Uhuru Kenyatta. Prior to this, President Macron visited Djibouti where he held talks with President Ismail Omar Guelleh before proceeding to Ethiopia where he met Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
According to a news report by Reuters, the French President wants to strengthen ties with Anglophobe East Africa and Kenya presents the European nation with the perfect opportunity to start the process.
“In Kenya there is an economic opportunity and it’s within the president’s strategy in France to look at not just Francophone Africa, but Anglophone Africa too,” a French presidential source is quoted as saying by Reuters.
Reuters also reports that following President Macron’s visit to State House in Nairobi, a delegation led by French Construction Firm Vinci secured a 30-year concession worth 1.6 billion euros (Ksh.181.3 trillion) to operate a highway linking the Kenyan capital and Mau Summit in western Kenya.
The report also states that Renewables Firm Voltalia and an Airbus led team secured a 70 million euro (Ksh. 7.9 billion) contract for the construction of a solar power plant and a coastal maritime surveillance program worth 200 million euros (Ksh. 22.67 billion) respectively with Total finalizing on another solar plant deal.
The new deals underline France’s intention of capitalizing on Kenya’s growing economy. Kenya is East Africa’s most advanced economy with a liberal business environment and entrepreneurial culture however, according to Reuters, French businesses only account for just a 1.4 percent of Kenya’s market share.
France’s bid to increase its businesses in Kenya however faces stiff competition from other European nations such as Britain which is seeking to revive its trade relationship with East African nations as it prepares to leave the European Union.