Kenya and Japan on Wednesday signed deals worth Sh98.8 billion at the start of President William Ruto’s official visit.
President Ruto witnessed the signing of the Framework Agreement For Collaboration between Kenya and Toyota Tsusho Corporation at the headquarters and toured the Toyota Motamachi Factory.
“The pact entails Sh15 billion Meru Wind Farm Energy, Sh8 billion Isiolo Solar Energy, Sh800 million Thika Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers’ initial investment, Sh75 billion Menengai Geothermal Plant and Electrified Vehicles promotion,” the President said on X, formerly Twitter.
The agreements were signed by Energy and Petroleum CS Davies Chirchir, CS KIpchumba Murkomen ( Roads and Transport, CS Rebecca Miano( Investment, Trade and Industry and president and CEO of TTC Ichiro Kashitani.
Prime Cabinet Secretary and Foreign Affairs Minister Musalia Mudavadi, First Lady Rachel Ruto, and Japan Ambassador to Kenya Okaniwa Ken were present.
State House in a statement said part of the agreement will see Toyota set up a vehicle manufacturing plant in the country, with the company committing an initial investment of Sh800 million in the Kenya Thika vehicle manufacturers.
The statement quoted the President as saying the move will bolster Kenya’s industrial sector, strengthen bilateral ties, expand opportunities for Kenyans, and ensure locally manufactured vehicles are affordable, thus discourage import of used cars.
“We must have a balance between the number of imported and newly manufactured vehicles,” he said.
However, President Ruto had in mid-January announced that from April this year, Kenyans will be buying second-hand cars in Naivasha at a cheaper price than in Japan.
Ruto said Kenyans will be buying their popular cars in Naivasha in Kenyan Shillings instead of the dollar, as the government had engaged a Japanese company that will set up an auction center for second-hand cars at the Naivasha Special Economic Zone.
“The car auction that people used to go to in Japan will be happening here in Naivasha. We have agreed with that company that, starting in April of this year, you will get a whole bunch of cars. And instead of buying those other cars, you’re asked for dollars; now the cars will be sold here in Kenya shillings. Get prepared; and the market will not only be for Kenya; it will also be for East Africa,” Ruto said.
In September 2019, the Kenyan Investment Authority (KenInvest) and the Meru county government signed another Sh15 billion deal with global green energy developers Windlab and Eurus Energy, which was to be Africa’s first hybrid renewable energy plant. The agreement was signed at the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7) in Yokohama, Japan.
Dubbed the Meru County Energy Park, the large-scale facility was to combine wind, solar PV and battery storage project, providing up to 80MW of clean, sustainable renewable energy, consisting of up to 20 wind turbines and more than 40,000 solar panels. Construction was to start in 2021.
Ahead of the visit, President Ruto without elaborating told a crowd in Kakamega that there is a $1 billion bilateral plan that Japan is helping Kenya on.