Enterprise Singapore opens first overseas office in East Africa

East Africa accounts for 22 per cent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s total GDP and is the fastest growing region in Africa.
Nairobi (Kenya)

Nairobi (Kenya)

Enterprise Singapore has opened its first overseas office in Kenya to further boost two-way trade and investment flows between the two countries.

The new office will also be the first in East Africa, opening up the region to further investment and trade - this will be the third office in Africa, with existing regional hubs in Johannesburg (South Africa) and Accra (Ghana).

“With three regional hub offices in Sub-Saharan Africa, Enterprise Singapore has built a comprehensive in-market network to facilitate Singapore companies’ entry into the continent,” said Yew Sung Pei, Assistant CEO, Enterprise Singapore.

Fintech, e-commerce, logistics, light manufacturing, urban solutions and energy, have been identified as key growth sectors where Singapore companies can contribute.

East Africa accounts for 22 per cent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s total GDP and is the fastest growing region in Africa, growing at 5.9 per cent in 2017 to $467.6 billion.

Furthermore, Kenya is seen as a gateway to East Africa, growing at 5.1 per cent in 2017 with an expected growth of 5.5 per cent in 2018.

In total, six agreements were signed between Singapore and Kenyan partners that covered corporate governance, e-payment and trade facilitation.

Specifically, a memorandum of understanding was signed between Red Dot Payment and Finserve Africa, a subsidiary of Equity Bank. The purpose of this agreement is to facilitate collaboration on offering alternative e-payment methods such as WeChat and Alipay in Kenya.

An agreement was also signed between CCRManager and Stanbic Bank with the purpose of collaborating on a global platform for financial assets trading and to improve trade financing capacity.

One more example includes the signing of an agreement between vCargo Cloud and the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry to develop an electronic certificate of origin using blockchain technology to improve the verification of trade documents.

“Today, over 60 Singapore companies operate in Africa across more than 50 countries,” said Yew. “Our new office in Nairobi will actively identify opportunities for Singapore companies, broaden our networks, and strengthen the Singapore brand in the fast-growing region."

Some 250 business and government leaders from both Singapore and Africa attended the opening, which was officiated by government officials from Kenya and Singapore.

The Singapore officials, which included Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, and Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State (SMS) for Trade and Industry, are visiting Kenya and Rwanda from June 12-14, 2018, accompanied by 20 Singapore companies.

This business mission was jointly organised by Enterprise Singapore and the Singapore Business Federation.

Furthermore, a bilateral investment treaty was also signed in addition to an avoidance of double taxation agreement between both countries.

On June 14 a bilateral investment treaty and an air services agreement will also be signed between Singapore and Rwanda.

This is just the latest move by Enterprise Singapore to expand opportunities for Singapore startups overseas, with a recent agreement signed between Enterprise Singapore and The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Singapore, giving Singapore start-ups faster entry to India’s start-up ecosystem.