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Chinese investors could help build Kenya into regional manufacturing hub: lobby

  NAIROBI, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- Chinese investors could play an instrumental role in making Kenya a regional manufacturing hub, a Kenyan industry lobby said on Monday.

  Mucai Kunyiha, vice chairman of Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), told journalists in Nairobi that local manufacturers have been losing market share in the East and Central Africa due to uncompetitiveness.

  "Tapping into Chinese manufacturing technology and finance is one of the strategies that we will pursue to ensure Kenyan products remain marketable both regionally and internationally," said Kunyiha.

  Kunyiha added that Kenyan industrialists are keen to form joint ventures with Chinese manufacturers so as to produce goods for both domestic and international markets.

  He noted that some Kenyan manufacturers have already licensed Chinese technology to produce high quality products locally.

  He observed that Kenya was once the major source of manufactured goods to the East African Community bloc.

  The industrialist revealed that exports especially of manufactured products to Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi have been on a declining trend in the past five years due to competition from low-cost producing nations.

  According to the lobby, so far over 300 Chinese factories are operational in the country in diverse fields such as motor bike assembly, ceramics and sanitary towels sectors.

  Kunyiha said that the Chinese operations have created thousands of employment opportunities and have also engaged local suppliers which have boosted the economy.

  He revealed that Kenyan manufacturers also are seeking to identify niche products that they can sell to the vast Chinese market.

  "We can boost our exports to China by focusing on areas we have a comparative advantage such as genuine African jewelry," he added.