President Uhuru Kenyatta today held a meeting with a delegation of more than 50 business executives from France who are in Kenya in search of investment opportunities.
The representatives of the major French companies including Airbus Helicopters and Alcatel-Lucent, who were led by the Minister of State for Foreign Trade of France, Mr Matthias Fekl, met the President at State House, Nairobi.
The President at the same time witnessed the signing of agreements between Kenya and the Government of France on the financing of several development projects.
President Kenyatta said the visit by the French business executives symbolises the confidence France has in Kenya and its desire to develop that partnership to a deeper level.
He said Kenya encourages partnerships that are of mutual benefit to Kenyans and investors.
“We want to benefit from the taxes you pay, the employment that you will create and the capital you will inject in the economy,” said the President.
President Kenyatta said the Government’s role was to facilitate investors by creating conducive environments for them to do business.
He said the true partners of foreign investors are the Kenyan private sector. “Meet the Kenyan private sector before you go back because they are your true partners and our role as Government is to facilitate,” he said.
President Kenyatta said the private sector will play more crucial roles in the country’s future because the country’s leadership understands how effective it is in achieving desired goals.
“We in Kenya know that our development goals will be achieved faster if we facilitate the private sector to be active partners,” he said.
The President said the Government was doing more to improve the business environment even after the Government was hailed internationally for its achievements in making Kenya a preferred investment destination.
Mr. Fekl said there are 70 major French companies operating in Kenya today, twice as many as in 2012.
He said the increasing number of French business in Kenya was a response to President Kenyatta’s policy to improve the business environment for private investors.
“The French Government is impressed by your pragmatic and precise engagement to improve the Kenyan economy. Our companies are at your service to improve the Kenyan economy,” said the minister.
President Kenyatta also witnessed the signing of three agreements between Kenya and France.
The agreements were signed by Mr. Fekl and Cabinet Secretaries Henry Rotich (National Treasury) and Judy Wakhungu (Environment).
One of the agreements is for the Ruiru II dam and water supply project where the French Government will provide a concessional loan of Euro 55 million (Ksh 6 billion) as part of the funds for the project. The loan includes a grant element of at least 35 per cent.
Another agreement concerned a loan of Ksh 5 billion from the French Development Agency (AFD) to finance the upgrading of slums under the Kenya Informal Sector Program and another one of Ksh 1.5 billion for improvement of rural roads.
The President also witnessed the signing of another agreement between AFD and Kenya Power for financing the enhancement of connectivity and distribution master plan.