Swedish companies are showing an increasing interest in doing business in the East African market. A growing number of Swedish companies have established themselves in Kenya.
Sweden's export to Kenya amounted to approximately SEK 311 million (KES 3,9 billion) in 2014. Important export products are telecommunication equipment, paper, machinery, manufactured products, medical equipment and vehicles. Imports from Kenya consist mainly of coffee, cut flowers, fruits and vegetables. The value of Swedish imports amounted to around SEK 272 million (KES 3,4 billion) in 2014.
Around 50 Swedish related companies are represented in Kenya, with the majority based in Nairobi. Among these are ABB, Alfa Laval, Atlas Copco, Bahco, Ericsson, Saab, Sandvik, Scania, SKF, TetraPak and Volvo. Several of these companies cover East and other parts of Africa from Nairobi.
The interest in Kenya and East Africa among Swedish institutional and private investors is growing. Swedfund, the Swedish development finance institution, has a regional office in Nairobi since 2009. There are significant opportunities for further growth in the trade relations, especially in the fields of infrastructure, agriculture, ICT and renewable energy. The Embassy and Business Sweden can assist Swedish companies with an interest for the Kenyan and East African markets. Sweden has a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement with Kenya since 1973.
The Government of Kenya's Vision 2030 seeks to establish Kenya as a middle-income country by the year 2030. As a result, the Government has introduced a number of policies aimed at facilitating foreign direct investments and improving the business climate in Kenya. Kenya's strategic geographical location also makes it suitable as a manufacturing hub, something which the Government seeks to promote.
The outlook for economic growth in Kenya is considered promising. Kenya has a tradition of doing business and has experience in the field of trade. The entry into force of the East African Common Market on 1 July 2010 opens new possibilities for regional integration within the East African Community. Kenya has a qualified workforce and a strong financial sector. Kenya is, due to the country's geographical position, developed infrastructure with an international airport and a deep-sea port, seen as a regional centre in East Africa for investments and commercial ventures. Furthermore, Kenya has the strongest economy of the region. However, corruption is a concern for trade and investment in Kenya.
Sweden has longstanding and cordial relations with Kenya dating back to independence in 1963. Sweden's good reputation in Kenya is an important advantage when promoting Swedish companies in the country. In order to further strengthen Sweden's long-term commitment to Kenya, Business Sweden, together with the Embassy, is coordinating a framework on corporate social responsibility (CSR) for Swedish related companies.