Help for Singapore firms to enter East Africa

(From left) Enterprise Singapore assistant chief executive Yew Sung Pei, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperat
(From left) Enterprise Singapore assistant chief executive Yew Sung Pei, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives Adan Mohamed, Non-Resident Ambassador to Kenya Yatiman Yusof and Singapore Business Federation chairman Teo Siong Seng at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for ESG's new centre in Nairobi, Kenya.PHOTO: ENTERPRISE SINGAPORE

Enterprise Singapore opens centre in Kenya, to identify opportunities, broaden networks and boost branding

Enterprise Singapore (ESG) opened a centre in Kenya yesterday - its third in Africa - to help Singapore companies enter the region and boost trade and investment between both markets.

The centre in the capital Nairobi will serve as a regional hub for East Africa and complement ESG's outlets in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Accra, Ghana.

ESG assistant chief executive Yew Sung Pei said: "Today, over 60 Singapore companies operate in Africa across more than 50 countries. Interest from Singapore companies is growing.

"Our (Nairobi) office will identify opportunities for Singapore companies, broaden our networks and strengthen the Singapore brand in the fast-growing region."

ESG has identified several growth sectors in East Africa where Singapore firms can contribute, including fintech, e-commerce, logistics, light manufacturing and urban solutions and energy.

The official opening coincided with a state visit to Kenya and Rwanda by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who is also Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, and Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry.

The delegation is being accompanied by 20 Singapore firms on a business mission organised by ESG and the Singapore Business Federation.

  • BUSINESS FORUM

  • ESG will organise the fifth edition of the Africa Singapore Business Forum, to be held in Singapore on Aug 28 and 29. It will allow delegates to discuss business opportunities and form potential partnerships.

East Africa is the fastest-growing region in the continent and accounts for 22 per cent of Sub-Saharan Africa's total gross domestic product. It grew 5.9 per cent last year to $467.6 billion.

The region is home to some of the fastest-growing economies in Africa, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

Singapore's economic ties with the region have been strengthened with the signings of a bilateral investment treaty and avoidance of double taxation agreement between Singapore and Kenya on Tuesday.

A bilateral investment treaty and an air services agreement with Rwanda will be signed today.

Six memorandums of understanding were also signed between Singapore and Kenyan partners yesterday.

One was between Singapore online payment company Red Dot Payment and Finserve Africa, a Kenyan mobile virtual network operator and subsidiary of Equity Bank. It involves collaborating on alternative e-payment methods such as WeChat and Alipay in Kenya.

Finserve Africa also signed an agreement with Singapore supply chain firm Ascent Solutions to collaborate on a mobile payment gateway.

CCRManager, which runs platforms and financial solutions for the global trade and working capital industry, inked a deal with Stanbic Bank Kenya to work on a platform for financial assets trading and to improve trade financing capacity.

Singapore's AASK Advisory Services and Kenyan law firm Anjarwalla & Khanna will collaborate on advisory and audit services as well as corporate governance training.

E-government services firm CrimsonLogic and the Kenya Trade Network Agency will work together on using technology for trade facilitation. And e-trade solutions provider vCargo Cloud will join forces with the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry to develop an electronic certificate of origin on blockchain to improve verification of trade documents.

ESG will organise the fifth edition of the Africa Singapore Business Forum, to be held in Singapore on Aug 28 and 29. It will allow delegates to discuss business opportunities and form potential partnerships.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2018, with the headline 'Help for S'pore firms to enter East Africa'. Print Edition | Subscribe