IE Singapore, the government agency tasked with driving Singapore’s external economy, is looking to establish its third overseas office in Africa – this time in Kenya.
The office, which is set to open in 2017, will give Singapore companies access to the fast-growing East Africa region.
Since 2005, Singapore-Africa bilateral trade has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 5.2%, reaching S$11.5bn in 2015. As of the end of 2014, Singapore’s cumulative direct investments into Africa stood at S$22.1bn. There are 60 Singapore companies operating across more than 50 African countries.
Lee Ark Boon, IE Singapore’s CEO, comments on the interest in the continent: “Africa’s long-term growth prospects are strong. Singapore companies looking to diversify from traditional markets should consider options in Africa. We are encouraged to see our companies developing a much more nuanced view of Africa including its unique sub-regional characteristics.
“Our new office in Nairobi will assist Singapore companies to identify and capture business opportunities, cultivate valued local partners and strengthen the Singapore brand in the fast-growing East African region.”
IE Singapore also has offices in Accra and Johannesburg.
Singapore has recently signed a series of bilateral agreements with African nations: this month it inked an avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) with Ethiopia, a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with Mozambique and an Air Services Agreement (ASA) with Nigeria.
“These bilateral agreements are expected to clarify the taxing rights of the signatory countries on all forms of income flows arising from cross-border business activities, create greater confidence for investors, and facilitate people-to-people flows,” says a statement issued by IE.
They are the latest in a series of bilateral agreements that Singapore has signed with Africa since 2014, including BITs with Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso, and DTAs with Rwanda and the Seychelles.
Singapore-based shipping firm, Pacific International Lines (PIL) and the government of Nigeria have also recently signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a joint venture shipping company in Nigeria with local Nigerian investors. The company will be managed by PIL and will be involved in the oil, dry cargo and container shipping for both international and coastal cabotage segments.