Looking West for Growth: Redefining Our Relationship with our West Africa

Seasons greetings to all, as we bury 2013 lets anticipate 2014 with unyielding hope, hard-work and prayers.

With Africa turning more and more inward for investment and growth opportunities, cooperation between African states has never been higher, with many countries seeking symbiotic agreements with their neighbors in a bid to reduce dependence on Western resources and develop their economies internally.

In this, Kenya has not been left behind: already in the process of brokering trade and currency deals with adjacent countries here in the East, Kenya is now looking to the West to further her economic agenda to the benefit of the logistics industry in Kenya as relates to tourism.

Leaps and bounds have been made in promoting Kenya’s tourism sector and attractions to our Western counterparts. Kenya’s largest commercial airline, Kenya Airways, has announced plans to launch direct flights to Abuja, Nigeria early in 2014 in a bid to provide more efficient and convenient freighting of people and cargo to and from our new found friend. This comes as the Kenya Tourism Board launches travel-trade training sessions in Nigeria and Ghana, seeking to market Kenya’s attractions and lure the newly wealthy big spenders in the region.

Further steps to expand Kenya’s fortunes by partnering with the West were taken earlier in the year, with Nigeria signing three bilateral agreements with Kenya, focused on favorable export and imports.  Foreign affairs cabinet secretaries for both governments agreed on a Joint Commission for Cooperation plan, ensuring mutual cooperation between the Foreign Service Institute of Kenya and the Foreign Service Academy of Nigeria.

Kenya seeks to export her coffee and tea, rated among the best available worldwide, to Nigeria and North Africa. Supply chain managers involved in agriculture, minerals exploitation, financial services, education and energy have reason to smile as the bilateral agreements facilitate cooperative development in these areas between the two countries, as pledged by Presidents of both nations.

Import and export logistics firms also have renewed hopes of increased traffic, a welcome improvement after the declining state of imports and exports between Kenya and Nigeria.

This newfound cooperation will also work to the favor of Kenyan industries including logistics, as regards investors, healthy competition and employment creation.

Photo Credit: The Habari NetworkThis is best shown by the participation of Africa’s richest man, Nigerian national Aliko Dangote in Kenya’s economy so far. Investing $400million in establishing a cement company in Kenya, Dangote has not only provided well-financed resources to exploit Kenya’s cement pockets, the Dangote company has also served as a wakeup call to Kenyan firms.

With competition from Dangote’s endeavor, Kenyan firms such as ARM cement have had to put their best foot forward to remain relevant and profitable, taking measures such as raising KES 25.5 billion for a new processing plant in Kitui.

Supply chain managers working in such industries touched by the effects of West African investors will find an increase in business opportunities, supported by improved technology.

With President Kenyatta and President Jonathan expected to put in place structures for more efficient communication between authorities in both countries, the darker side of increased trade such as international terrorism, drug trafficking, or money laundering can and will be curbed, leaving room for honest entrepreneurs in the Kenyan logistics industry to prosper.

As Kenya looks West for development, the sentiment no longer references the USA and its likes, (them Somalis call rer galbed) but our very own proudly African Western states.

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