ENTERPRISE Singapore (ESG) opened a new overseas centre in Kenya on Wednesday, its third in Africa, to help Singapore companies enter East Africa and boost trade and investment between both markets.
Located in the capital, Nairobi, the new centre will serve as a regional hub for East Africa, complementing ESG's centres in Johannesburg, South Africa and Accra, Ghana, which serve the southern and western regions of Sub-Saharan Africa respectively.
In East Africa, ESG has identified several growth sectors where Singapore firms can contribute, such as fintech, e-commerce, logistics, light manufacturing, and urban solutions and energy.
Said ESG assistant chief executive officer Yew Sung Pei: "Today, over 60 Singapore companies operate in Africa across more than 50 countries. Interest from Singapore companies is growing. Our new office in Nairobi will actively identify opportunities for Singapore companies, broaden our networks, and strengthen the Singapore brand in the fast-growing region."
The new centre's opening was officiated by Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon, and Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Ministry of Industry, Trade & Cooperatives Adan Mohamed.
Over 150 business and government leaders from Singapore and Africa attended the opening ceremony.
Mr Tharman and Dr Koh are on a state visit to Kenya and Rwanda from June 12 to 14. Mr Tharman is leading 20 Singapore companies on a business mission organised by ESG and the Singapore Business Federation.
Singapore's economic ties with Africa are being strengthened with the signing of a bilateral investment treaty and an avoidance of double taxation agreement between Singapore and Kenya on Tuesday, and the upcoming signing of a bilateral investment treaty and an air services agreement with Rwanda on Thursday.
On Wednesday, six memoranda of understanding (MOUs) were also signed between Singapore and Kenyan partners on issues such as corporate governance, e-payment and trade facilitation.
These included an MOU between Singapore online payment company Red Dot Payment, and Finserve Africa Limited, a Kenyan mobile virtual network operator and subsidiary of Equity Bank, to collaborate on alternative e-payment methods such as WeChat and Alipay in Kenya.
From Aug 28 to 29 this year, ESG will organise the fifth edition of the Africa Singapore Business Forum, where delegates will discuss business opportunities, network and form potential partnerships.
Topics include financing, digital technology and real estate.