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Kenya snubs British imports, opens bids to Asian countries

Discussion in 'Kenyan News and Politics' started by Kabaridi, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. Kabaridi

    Kabaridi JF-Expert Member

    Apr 17, 2012
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    Kenya snubs British imports, opens bids to Asian countries

    By Charles Wachira

    NAIROBI, Kenya (IPS/GIN) - The Kenyan government signaled a drastic break with the United Kingdom when it purchased Toyota vehicles for its military forces, instead of the all-pervasive Land Rover.

    In effect the shift ended the favored status enjoyed by imports from Kenya's former colonial master.

    De la Rue, a U.K.-based printing and security firm that has uninterruptedly printed Kenyan currency since independence, is also fighting to retain its contract. The administration of Mwai Kibaki broke with tradition, inviting other internationally recognized firms to bid for the job.

    The London-based firm J&S Franklin Ltd. served as a single-source supplier of uniforms and combat kits for the armed forces since Kenya "unshackled" itself from British colonial rule in 1963. It was blackballed by Kenya's department of defense when its contract was terminated to the benefit of a Chinese firm.

    Similarly Brooke Marine and Vosper Thornycroft, two British companies that have exclusively supplied ships to Kenya's navy since independence, have had to contend with the phenomenon of open tendering.

    This change of fortune for British firms is captured in the official annual economic survey cobbled together by the country's ministry of finance.

    In 2007 imports from the U.K. were worth $4.9 million - compared to China's $7.6 million or India's $9.5 million.

    Compare this to 2001 during the peremptory reign of Daniel arap Moi. U.K. imports then totaled $3.7 million, while China was at a much lower $1.1 million and Indian imports amounted to a relatively puny $2.1 million.

    Since the replacement of Moi's government in 2003, it has taken China and India three years only for their imports to Kenya to overtake those from the U.K., formerly a premier source of imports.

    "It is as a result of prudent decision-making that the Kenyan government opened up the country to the Far East, including Asian countries. As a result Kenya has been able to access countries that provide better deals," said Dr. Gerrishon Ikiara, a former permanent secretary in the Kibaki administration and currently a senior lecturer for the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Nairobi.

    "In the past, procurement of government goods was shrouded in mystery. Then political considerations mattered more than economic sense."

    According to the economist, Asian countries offer competitively-priced goods and services when compared with the U.K.

    "Right now most of Kenya's roads are either being refurbished or built anew by Chinese firms. And all our international airports are also being upgraded by Chinese-owned firms. This is after going through the process of open tendering," Ikiara said.

    Kwame Otieno, a senior researcher with local think-tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, blames "the rigidity of the British system" as the fillip triggering the dip in British imports. The institute is a nongovernmental organization that promotes debate on policy issues.

    "If a Kenyan, for example, wants to visit the U.K., they face a lot of stringent requirements that act as a hindrance. But if they wish to travel to the Far East, China or India, the process is enabling and travel-friendly. That's one reason that has led a lot of local business people to shy away from traveling to the U.K., let alone seeking business there."

    Confirming the hardships, a British envoy was in early 2008 officially declared not welcome by the Kenyan government. During his tour of duty the 63-year-old diplomat, who has since retired, had a panache for shooting from the hip, to the chagrin of the ruling political class.

    "The change in the bilateral trade relations between the U.K. and Kenya has political overtones written all over it," said Dr. Robert Nyangiro, a senior lecturer at the University of Nairobi's government department.

    "The cabal that took power in 2003 had always accused the British government of aiding and abetting the misrule associated with the reign of Daniel arap Moi. The British government was a bugbear for the group because its quiet diplomacy emboldened Moi to rule autocratically."

    As a result, "when the Kibaki group ascended to power, they tacitly removed the most favored status afforded to British goods," Nyangiro said. Understandably the spokesman at the British embassy here, Charley Williams, does not see anything unusually awkward with the change of status that British firms face today.

    "It's business, and Kenya has the right to choose whomever it wishes to trade with. While it's a fact of life that goods sourced from the U.K. are normally priced high, their quality is unrivaled," she said.

    "My guess will be that with time the local consumers who are looking for quality products will fall back to purchasing brands from the U.K. because the quality is guaranteed."

    The Michigan Citizen
  2. Kabaridi

    Kabaridi JF-Expert Member

    Apr 17, 2012
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    Point to ponder: Kenya, like any other developing nation, is in increased need of bilateral trade and business partnerships apart from the normal diplomatic ties with "developed" european nations. But after the turn of the 21st century, we have witnessed a shift in preference in which the country(kenya) can rely on to forge bilateral ties especially china and japan, with increased invitation and funding for numerous key projects around the country . We have also seen some international patners (Germany and France) via their high ambassadors are crying wolf, that it has been hard for them to seek audience with the Kenya government.

    Question: Should this guys simply have a right to do so?
  3. J

    JokaKuu Platinum Member

    Apr 17, 2012
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    ..wajiandae kupokea bidhaa ambazo ni sub standard.

    ..linapokuja suala la human rights violations, Wazungu huwa hawatetei nchi yoyote ile isipokuwa Israel.

    ..Wachina kama ni mteja wao mzuri, recall the case of Sudan, basi watakutetea tu bila kujali rekodi ya utawala wako.
  4. Kabaridi

    Kabaridi JF-Expert Member

    Apr 18, 2012
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    Tunaongelea kuhusu cheap imports from China ambao inasemekana inaua soko za bidhaa kule Marekani na uingereza. Kama hapa mkurugenzi wa eveready east africa alivokuwa analalamika kuhusu imports za Uchina
  5. Dingswayo

    Dingswayo JF-Expert Member

    Apr 18, 2012
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    Sio kila bidhaa inayotengenezwa na Wachina iko chini ya viwango. Kwa taarifa tu, bidhaa nyingi sana maarufu duniani hutengenezwa China. Tofauti ya ubora wa bidhaa inakuja pale mteja anapoamua kuchagua bidhaa ambayo iko chini ya kiwango au la.
  6. S

    Sideeq JF-Expert Member

    Apr 18, 2012
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    Hapa ndipo Waafrika wanapotakiwa kujua kuwa Mzungu hakimbiliki kwa kukimbila China!
  7. Mtazamaji

    Mtazamaji JF-Expert Member

    Apr 18, 2012
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    Mambo ya cheap imports ni propaganga + uzembe .

    Uzembe wa uthority zinashghulika na viwango isiwe sababu yetu ya kuwalamumu wachina.Hata hao UK US na nchi zilizoendeledea bidhaa zao zinatengezewa china.. Tofauti ni mifumoyakuthibitisha na kupitisha viwango.

    Kitu kuwa cheap haina maana ni tatazo au ni low Quality.Hili neno Quality linatumika kuwa gonga watu bei lakini kumbe umakini Kidogo wa specs na viwango ungeweza kupata bidhaa ileile kwa bei ndogo na si lazima iwe y uayaa

    UK ilipotea kwenye ulimwengu wa auto indsutry saabu wao Quality haikuendana na wakati .Wakaja wajapan na concept kama za TQM na nyingine. So hata neno Quality inabidi upate tafsiri sahihi.

    Wich Land ROver can suit military use particualry in africa . Discovery??? or Defender.Ukweil in auto industry UK is out of busines compared to other Auto-nation (germany,Japan even Korea)
  8. Kabaridi

    Kabaridi JF-Expert Member

    Apr 21, 2012
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    ukweli ni kwamba auto industry ya UK imeenda chini tangu kuingia kwa gari kutoka japan na middle east. The Range rover ndio naweza sema ina makali kushindana na models zingine ulimwenguni.