Kenyan business chiefs say they will fly down to Angola in July to seek “intelligence” on local business interests and benefit from recent bilateral agreements between the two countries.
The traders are part of a programme that seeks to encourage private investments as Angola seeks to expand its economy beyond oil, and Kenya reaches out to new markets.
Delegations comprising Kenyan businesspeople from the education, healthcare, agriculture and hospitality sectors are scheduled to attend the Kenya-Angola Trade and Investment Conference in Luanda from July 21-26. The conference is being organised by marketing and events firm Tricarta.
Spokesperson for the conference Anne Moraa said the Kenyan chiefs will seek information on market trends and opportunities in Angola, a country which only came out from three decades of war at the turn of 2000.
“Delegates will access first-hand market intelligence on Angola’s prospects from experts and key players and participate in structured open discussions with senior members of the Angolan government,” she said.
“They will also engage with Angolan top level executives, develop strategies to grow and develop education, healthcare, agriculture and hospitality spaces.”
The move, the business people said, is their initiative to benefit from recent bilateral agreements between Luanda and Nairobi to open up business opportunities.
When President Uhuru Kenyatta toured Luanda in 2014, the two governments signed three agreements: to establish a Joint Commission Co-operation, meant to expand relations; the General Agreement on Economic, Scientific, Cultural and Technical Co-operation and the Memorandum of Understanding on Political Consultations.
But at the time, none of the countries had resident diplomatic missions in each other’s territories.
The nearest Angolan embassy to Kenya, for instance, was in Tanzania, which was also accredited to Nairobi. Nairobi ran relations through its mission in Windhoek, Namibia.
Now, the countries’ ambassadors Josphat Maikara of Kenya and Samuel Sianga of Angola say they are endorsing the efforts of the businesspeople.
The conference, organisers said, will seek to improve Nairobi-Luanda trade and investment relations through personal contacts.
Nairobi and Luanda are already served by Kenya Airways since 2011, running three flights every week.
Angola’s national budget is mostly financed by revenues from oil and diamonds, which constitute 90 percent of all exports.
And despite being one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, a World Bank bulletin said its infrastructure is poor.
“The country continues to face massive development challenges, which include reducing its dependency on oil and diversifying the economy; rebuilding its infrastructure; and improving institutional capacity … and the living conditions of the population,” the World Bank bulletin said.
Angola’s economy is bigger but Kenya’s is more diversified into service, agriculture and tourism sectors.
The Kenyan traders see Angola’s annual food import bill as good for Kenya’s produces.
Kenyan businesses said they wanted to market the country as one of the destinations for Angolan students in Africa, taking advantage of nascent educational facilities back in Angola.
“We have world class universities and international schools that should interest Angolan parents and students,” said Dr Aloys Ojore, the MA programme leader at Tangaza University College, and one of the organisers of the conference.
Ms Moraa said players in agriculture could benefit from the Angolan market for tea and coffee.
Because of long ties to Europe, Angolans, ironically, consume Kenyan beverages by importing them from Europe, which make them expensive.
The business players said it could be profitable to Kenyan farmers if a direct line for export is established.
Among the conference players will be traders in the medical and hospitality sectors, who said they would market to Angolans about destinations in Kenya.
Because of strict immigration rules, few Angolans ever visit Kenya for tourism or medical care.