From Japan to Kenya and the other way: How JETRO and JBA will connect you

Photo taken in 2020. From left, Japan Business Council for Africa co-chair Yokoi Yasuhiko, Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) Chairperson Sachen Gudka, Principal Technical Director of Technical Cooperation Division, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in Japan Asakura Daisuke, and KAM CEO Phyllis Wakiaga, during a press briefing on the Kenya-Japan Business Forum. The forum promotes strategic partnerships between Japanese and Kenyan manufacturers.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Japan External Trade Organisation

Economic ties between Kenya and Japan predate Kenya’s independence and continue to get stronger.

Kenya has increasingly developed as a regional economic hub, and its partnership with Japan continues to grow as Japanese investments in the country increase.

Since its establishment, the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) has strived to promote mutually beneficial trade between Japan and Kenya. Its efforts have led to a significant number of investments from Japan to Kenya, such that in the last two decades, the number of Japanese investors has risen to more than 80 companies (see graph below).

In a survey carried out by JETRO on 327 Japanese-affiliated companies in Africa, Kenya was voted the top country to invest in for the future, with a percentage of 35.1 percent, for the sixth year in a row.

This illustrates Kenya’s vibrant economy in East Africa, and there has been significant interest coming from Japan for more investments into Kenya.

JETRO Nairobi has supported several fundraising cases for Kenyan start-ups from Japanese investors. If you are a Kenyan start-up entrepreneur who would like to raise capital from Japanese companies, I recommend that you contact JETRO first.

In addition, JETRO is currently running an online matching programme between Kenyan distributors and Japanese manufacturers in the fields of medical equipment, agricultural gear, general machinery and FMCG. You are most welcome to approach us if you are interested in importing and distributing these Japanese machineries and products.

JETRO, as the Japanese governmental agency aimed at promoting trade and investment between Japan and the rest of the world, is providing the above services and programmes at no cost.

Japan Business Association in Kenya

Established in the 1980s, the Japan Business Association (JBA) in Kenya represents 59 members from various industries (construction, IT, manufacturing, retail, tourism, and transport, etc), and remains open to any Japanese individuals, companies or institutions setting up operations in Kenya.

The association supports members’ commercial and industrial activities to expand trading and increase investments in Kenya by sharing valuable insights and best practices.

The Japan Business Association in Kenya aims at contributing to the strengthening of economic and friendly relations between Japan and Kenya. The Association, together with the Embassy of Japan in Kenya and JETRO, participates in the Japan-Kenya Business Dialogue established in 2019 towards the improvement of the business environment.

Thanks to discussions with Kenyan authorities in the Business Dialogue, the issuance procedure of work permits has been improved and members have been able to get their documents faster than ever. This practice will add up to increase in the Japanese investments in Kenya.

For Kenyans, JBA offers the opportunity to access and reach a large Japanese business audience, as a single window. The Association is therefore a key player in the development of further business partnerships between Japan and Kenya.

For a PDF copy of a recent ‘Made in Japan’ supplement published in the Daily Nation, click here.

JETRO Nairobi, is headed by Mr Sotaro Nishikawa as the Executive Director, while Japan Business Association in Kenya is chaired by Mr Katsutoshi Nishi