France seals business deals worth US$2.26bn in Kenya

French President Emmanuel Macron and his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta have signed a business infrastructure contract worth more than €2 billion euros (US$2.26 billion) on Thursday.

The deals include a 1.6 billion 30-year concession for a Vinci-led consortium to operate a highway between Nairobi and Mau Summit.

Renewables firm Voltalia also sealed a 70 million contract for two solar power plants, while an Airbus-led consortium won a 200 million euro contract for coastal and maritime surveillance.

The contracts were signed during a visit by President Emmanuel Macron, who is seeking to boost trade in the East Africa region.

Kenya is east Africa’s most advanced economy with a liberal business environment and entrepreneurial culture. French businesses however account for just a 1.4 percent market share.

French exports to Kenya in 2017 amounted to between US$170 million and US$225.80 million, while China, Kenya’s number one trading partner, exported goods worth US$3.8 billion.

“France has supported Kenya for several years in development projects … but we are not sufficiently economically and industrially,” Macron said on Wednesday night in a news conference with Kenyatta.

Kenya’s president, Mr. Kenyatta welcomed his counterpart, Emmanuel Macron with a tweet in French, to the amusement of his millions of followers on the popular social networking site.

The historic visit, a first ever to Kenya by a French president, was fruitful as the two presidents witnessed the unveiling of a locally assembled Peugeot 3008 at State House in Nairobi.

‘I would like to restate that as part of the government’s policy to promote the philosophy of “Buy Kenya, Build Kenya” among our people, all government entities will be expected to buy and use locally assembled vehicles and spare parts for all official use,’‘ Kenyatta later said, during a joint press conference.

Kenyatta, who took Macron for a drive around the grounds of State House in a Kenyan-assembled Peugeot car, said he hopes Macron’s historic visit would boost French investment in Kenya and increase the number of tourists between the two countries.

While in Kenya, Macron will attend the summit for the Climate One Planet Summit and sign contracts with Kenyan leaders totaling €3 billion.