Austria, Laikipia county explore business opportunities in tourism, agriculture

Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi, Austria Commercial Counsellor Edith Predorf and Laikipia First Lady Maria Mbeneka on Saturday, August 22, 2020/ COURTESY

The Embassy of Austria in Kenya and Laikipia county government are exploring areas of business partnerships.

On Saturday, Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi and his wife Maria Mbeneka hosted a delegation from Advantage Austria to discuss potential partnership areas between Austria and the Laikipia County.

Mbeneka said the meeting involved mapping out of sector by sector needs with tangents for Austrian companies to explore opportunities within the county.

“Areas of focus included urban planning, water and sanitation, tourism and agriculture,” she said in her social media update.

According to the Austrian embassy website, approximately 3,000 Austrian tourists visit Kenya every year.

The Advantage Austria is a business development agency that assists Austrian companies in finding new contacts and strengthening existing business relations.

It promotes trade relations between Austria and countries in East Africa region, among them Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, the Seychelles, South Sudan, Burundi, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia, and provide investment and economic cooperation.

Early this year, just before the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak in Kenya, the Austrian embassy hosted a high-level construction business delegation in Kenya between February 26-28, in which 13 visiting and 100 local companies participated.

At the time, Commercial Counsellor Edith Predorf told a local daily that Austria was taking advantage of the Big Four agenda, particularly the booming construction sector, to have a “continuous and sustainable” relationship with Kenya.

Austria was among the first countries to recognise Kenya’s independence  in 1963. The Austrian Embassy in Nairobi became operational in April 1965.

Some of the traditional exports to Kenya include machinery and transport equipment, pharmaceuticals and beverages. On the other hand, Kenya’s exports to Vienna are cut flowers, fruits, vegetables, coffee and tea.

Also in attendance in the Saturday meeting were Water and Environment CEC Njenga Kahiro, his Infrastructure counterpart Joseph Shuel, Laikipia County Development Authority CEO Jesse Mbuthi and Predorf, among other senior officers.

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