World’s largest silk producer to set up base in Kenya

The world’s largest producer of silk, Guangdong Silk-Tex Group, has announced its plans to set up shop in Kenya.

Top officials of the government owned company met President Uhuru Kenyatta in Shanghai, China, on Sunday during which they confirmed plans to set up business in Nairobi.

Officials of the company were led by their Chairman Ke Huiqi. The company will not only setup a silk processing factory at the Export Processing Zone in the country but will also establish a silk farm.

The Guangdong Silk-Tex Group will establish a cocoon farm on an estimated 8,237 acres of land with capacity to handle the entire silk value chain covering cocoon procurement, silk reeling, weaving and trading.

The venture is expected to create over 300,000 jobs for Kenyans. In another sitting, President Kenyatta met officials of Cherami China-Africa Investment Management, a firm that plans to construct a cancer treatment centre in Kenya, in partnership with the University of Nairobi.

The proposed cancer treatment and referral center is envisioned to become the largest such facility in Sub-Saharan Africa and will be constructed next to the University of Nairobi’s Dental School.

The joint venture will include exchange programmes with leading Chinese universities as well as capacity building for Kenyan cancer experts. The partnership will also include other Kenyan universities as well as explore opportunities in agricultural value addition. The Kenyan delegation to the meeting included University of Nairobi VC Prof Peter Mbithi while officials of Cherami were led by its Director Chen Ruibing and CEO Wei Xiaolin.

Earlier in the day, President Kenyatta and President Xi held bilateral talks at the Xijiao State Guest Hotel in Shanghai during which they discussed measures to strengthen trade and investment ties between Kenya and China.

At the meeting, President Kenyatta, who is one of the Chief Guests at the China International Import Expo, said the trade fair provides a platform for more win-win partnerships. On his part, the Chinese leader gave a firm assurance that China will take proactive measures to correct the trade imbalance between Kenya and China. In a day full of meetings, President Kenyatta also held talks with Chinese investors eyeing opportunities at the Lamu Port.

China is hosting the first ever import expo that is attended by hundreds of companies and participants from over 130 countries among them Kenyan horticultural farmers and traders. China is using the Expo to showcase its willingness to open up its huge market to other countries.

President Kenyatta will also use the opportunity presented by the Expo explore additional markets for Kenya’s commodities especially agricultural produce. President Kenyatta is scheduled to deliver a keynote address at the official opening of the expo.

Cabinet Secretaries Peter Munya-Trade and Industry; James Macharia-Transport and Infrastructure and Monica Juma-Foreign affairs are part of the President’s delegation to the Expo. Other members of the delegation are Principal Secretaries Chris Kiptoo and Betty Maina.

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