Economic links over the years between Africa and Singapore have been strengthening. Since 2007, trade between Singapore and Africa has grown by 17%, reaching US$7.7 billion in 2017. At the private sector level, Singapore companies’ interest in Africa is also growing.
To date, Singapore’s investments in Africa amount to more than US$19 billion, across sectors such as urban and industrial development, affordable housing, and transport and logistics.
With Kenya’s position as a gateway to East Africa, Nairobi became the natural choice to set up the third Singapore overseas centre in Africa which will focus on key growth sectors including but not limited to digital services, urban infrastructure solutions, manufacturing, logistics and consumerism. In addition, the Nairobi Overseas Centre will allow Kenyan and African companies, including Small and Medium Sized Companies, to leverage Singapore as a gateway to capture growth opportunities in Asia.
Some of the Singapore companies that operate in Kenya include: CrimsonLogic , which is working with Kenya Trade Network Agency to design and run innovative and sustainable services to collaborate with Kenyan citizens and ecosystem. It also won the Kenya National Electronic Single Window System (KNESWS) in 2012; Pacific International Lines (PIL) , one of the first few liners in the world that provides a link from Asia/Middle East to Africa; and Red Dot Payment , which provides working with Equity Bank to provide alternative e-payment methods.
With the increase of mobile money transfers, this will be a welcome partnership in terms of e-payments. TransferTo, a cross-border mobile payments network company is also collaborating with PayPal & Safaricom’s M-PESA. TransferTo’s payment solution will enable Kenyan customers to seamlessly transfer money between PayPal and M-PESA mobile wallets.
For Kenyan consumers, this means that they can now make transactions on global e-marketplaces. For online businesses and individual sellers, they can now sell their items safely and securely on such marketplaces leveraging PayPal’s global reach.
On 12 June 2018, the Kenyan and Singapore governments signed Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) and Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) agreements to further cement bilateral economic ties. The signings were witnessed by Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Shanmugaratnam. Singapore will also sign a BIT and an Air Services Agreement (ASA) with Rwanda on 14 June 2018. These agreements further boost cross-border trade and investment flows, adding to Singapore’s fast-growing treaty network with Africa.