Muscat: With the aspiration to explore new markets for the Omani industries in East African countries, the Omani Products Exhibition (Opex 2018) was inaugurated on Monday at Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, Kenya under the auspices of Adan Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of East African Community and Regional Development in Kenya.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by Dr Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Saleh bin Sulaiman Al Harthy, Sultanate’s Ambassador to Kenya, and a number of officials and businessmen from the Omani and Kenyan sides.
Speaking at the event, Dr Al Sunaidy, stressed the importance of organising the ninth edition of Opex in Nairobi, which is the destination that was selected by the Omani companies and factories.
“This exhibition comes at a very opportune time as Kenya is currently focusing on four major sectors on which the economy is based. Most of the Omani products that are featured in the event belong to these sectors,” Al Sunaidy said.
“We should also note that there are four direct flights on a weekly basis from Muscat to Nairobi, which gives a push for the Omani products to enter the Kenyan market. We hope that the number of flights get increased during the coming period," he added.
"Additionally, there is a direct shipping line between Port of Salalah and Port of Mombasa, which we visited with a group of businessmen. We have noted an interest from their side to sign an MoU with Port of Salalah to exchange information and explore more facilities,” Al Sunaidy said.
Adan Mohamed expressed his contentment on the products that are featured at the event and praised the diversity and quality of the Omani products.
“The Sultanate is an investment gateway for Eastern African countries in the Middle East region and it enjoys strong historical ties with Kenya,” he said, adding that, "The Omani products will undoubtedly find necessary support and facilities to enter the Kenyan market."
Commenting on the participation of Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), Rashid bin Amer Al Muslihi, deputy chairman of the Board of Directors of OCCI for Administrative and Financial Affairs, said: “OCCI is organising this event hand in hand with the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE) and the Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development (Ithraa) in an effort to support the private sector’s bodies and find new markets for the Omani products.”
A memorandum of understanding was signed between OCCI and Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the sidelines of the exhibition’s inauguration event. The agreement was signed by Qais bin Mohammed Al Yousef, Chairman of the Board of Directors of OCCI from the Omani side, and James Mureu, Vice Chairman of Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry from the Kenyan side. The agreement aims at developing and enhancing trade cooperation and promotion, supporting foreign trade in both countries, promoting business, forming partnerships, and expanding horizons of trade and business ties between the two countries. This shall be achieved through visits of trade delegations, participation in exhibitions, and exchange of economic and trade reports and related data.
A video was screened at the inauguration ceremony to brief the attendees on the investment climate in the Sultanate and the available investment opportunities. Besides, the video briefed on the vision of PEIE, which is to enhance the Sultanate’s position as a leading regional centre of manufacturing, ICT, innovation and entrepreneurship excellence, and its mission in attracting industrial investments and providing continued support, through regionally and globally competitive strategies, good infrastructure, value adding services, and easy governmental processes.
The video also highlighted the efforts undertaken by Ithraa to translate its commitment in promoting the business benefits of Oman to a global audience, strengthening the image and profile of the Sultanate as an investment and business destination, and building a strong economy.
It should be noted that the 4-day exhibition is organised by a committee formed by PEIE, Ithraa and OCCI. More than 80 Omani companies are participating in the exhibition, and more than 200 business owners from Oman are attending the event.
A number of SMEs are also taking part in the exhibition. These companies represent different sectors such as natural resources, metals, wood products, manufacturing products, furniture, foodstuffs, medical and pharmaceutical products, fertilisers, plastics, perfume, leather, logistics services, in addition to the participation of a number of related governmental bodies and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
A variety of opportunities are available for the Omani products in the markets of Kenya and its neighbouring countries. The Omani industrialists have selected Kenya to be the next destination for Opex in order to explore the African market in general and the Kenyan market in particular, especially that Kenya and its neighbouring countries enjoy promising and dynamic markets.
The economy of Kenya is based on agriculture and the main crops grown by Kenya include coffee, tea, banana, corn, rice, wheat, cotton, among others, as well as it relies on livestock grazing such as goats, cows, sheep and camels.
It is worth mentioning that the series of Opex events seek to diversify the export channels of Omani products, boost export relations and increase the volume of exports by providing the Omani exporters with the opportunity to introduce their products to new markets, and find commercial agents for distributing products in the foreign markets.