Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Alfred Mutua arrived in Madrid, Spain for official engagements on April 27, 2023. He was received by Spanish Ambassador to Kenya Christina Diaz and Kenyan Ambassador to Spain Michael Oyugi.
On April 29, 2023, the Cabinet Secretary held bilateral discussions with Spain’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation Jose Manuel Albares in Madrid, where they deliberated on a broad range of activities that anchor Kenya-Spain bilateral relations.
Top of the agenda was signing a memorandum of understanding that will see Kenyans trained in Spanish language. This will enhance Spanish as a major language of study in Kenya and open up opportunities for Kenyan youth abroad.
They discussed the various partnerships and commitment by Spain towards Kenya which includes funds for improving the railway system and roads (in particular an overpass at Junction Mall area of Nairobi’s Ngong road).
The two Foreign Ministers also reviewed the trade partnership where 1,000 companies sell their products to Kenya every year and deliberated on how Kenyans can sell their products in Spain.
On his part, the Spain Minister informed that Kenya is at the forefront of their relations and investment in the African continent. CS Mutua thanked the Spanish government for their support and dedication to Kenya.
On April 27, 2023, Dr. Mutua presided over the inauguration of the Kenya – Spain Joint Business Forum in Madrid, Spain aimed to woo Spanish investors and people to Kenya.
The well-organized event at the Spanish Confederation of Business Organizations (CEOE), (Spain’s equivalent of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), attracted and brought together significant investors and captains of industry from all economic sectors in Spain.
Speaking at the event, CS Mutua noted that Spain, a country of 47 million people, received 71.6 million tourists last year 2022. Their average before Covid-19 was 76.5M. By contrast, Kenya, with a population of 53 million people and endowed with beaches, mountains, flora and fauna second to none, received only 1.5 million tourists in 2022.
“These are some of the reality check statistics that I have in my mind as I formally inaugurate this forum. The balance of trade between the two countries is too low for such a country, to even mention. We have our work cut out for us,” the CS said.
CS Mutua noted that with Spain taking over leadership of the European Union in July of 2023 and Kenya about to conclude the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union, this was a well-timed and vital function for Kenya.
He enumerated the advantages of Spanish companies investing in all sectors in Kenya and discussed how Kenyans can open and establish companies in Spain, as well as supply goods and services.
The Cabinet Secretary presented a case for Kenya and showed the investors that their investment in Kenya would be an investment to tap into the huge 1.3 billion population (market) in the African continent. He informed them that Kenya facilitates business and outlined the new tax measures, incentives and export processing centers benefits.
CS Mutua also met entrepreneurs of the delivery service GLOVO and was humbled by their decision to open their African headquarters in Kenya after listening to his passionate speech while marketing Kenya.
“The opportunities for Kenyans are huge. Already, Spain imports 26% of its fruits from Kenya. We aim to grow this to over 50%. There is a huge appetite for Kenyan avocados on the plates of Spanish meals and this is an area we intend to concentrate and exploit,” the CS said, adding that, “Spain is the second largest consumer of sea food in the world (after Japan) and Kenya plans to be a major provider of fish and other sea foods to the country to meet the huge demands.”