President Uhuru Kenyatta and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday unveiled the Peugeot 3008, revealing that two Peugeot models will be assembled in Kenya in 2019.
The car by the French vehicle manufacturer, PSA Groupe, is one of the models locally assembled in Kenya and was unveiled in a move geared towards boosting Kenya's manufacturing sector.
Speaking after unveiling the new Peugeot model, Kenyatta reiterated his call on all state entities to buy and use locally assembled vehicles and spare parts.
"This policy directive is intended to promote our agenda on manufacturing, creating good jobs for our people, and enhancing technology transfer to our country," he said.
Government bypasses local manufacturers to buy South African buses
During the ceremony that was also attended by Deputy President William Ruto and several cabinet secretaries, Kenyatta emphasized that as part of his administration's efforts to build a better Kenya with shared prosperity for all under the Big 4 Agenda, manufacturing has been prioritized as one of the critical sectors for wealth and employment creation.
"As part of our agenda to promote manufacturing, my Administration is prioritizing motor vehicle assembly and manufacturing of spare parts," President Kenyatta pointed out.
This is despite the government's seeming unwillingness to support local manufacturers especially in vehicle assembly which has caused an uproar in the country.
The government has been betrayed by the fact that it is acquiring multimillion buses from South Africa bypassing local manufacturers who say they have the capability.
Assembling 15,000 vehicles annually in Kenya
Kenyatta alluded to this saying it was the reason why the PSA Groupe, the second largest car manufacturer in Europe, was encouraged to set up their assembly plant in Kenya.
The 1600cc twin turbo SUV is one of Peugeot's most advanced vehicle models assembled at the Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers (KVM) assembly plant in Thika.
President Kenyatta noted that the Peugeot 3008 is a high-performance vehicle with great fuel consumption and lowest emission in its class.
"It is also a hardy vehicle, having been tested in several parts of Kenya," President Kenyatta said.
The assembling of Peugeot 3008 SUV commenced in September 2017.
Two additional models, the Peugeot 2008 SUV and Peugeot 308SW, are envisaged to commence in April and September 2019.
By the end of this year, the PSA Groupe is expected to assemble at least 1,000 vehicles in Kenya, up from the current 480 vehicles.
Kenyatta said it was encouraging to note that when the KVM plant is fully operational, the PSA Groupe hopes to assemble at least 15,000 vehicles annually in Kenya for both the local and regional markets.
France committed to working with Kenya
Macron assured that France is committed to working together with Kenya in several areas of mutual interest among them trade, investment, infrastructure, security and counter-terrorism activities.
"We work very well together but we want to increase the cooperation with Kenya and the region from a security and defence point of view," Macron said.
"We do believe that our companies and our investors can be part of the growth strategy of your country by providing not just cars but employment in your country for your people," President Macron added.
Kenyatta praised the historic visit by President Macron, the first to Kenya by a French President.
"Mr President, your visit signals our shared commitment to foster our bilateral relations and engagements within the region in various ways which will deepen, expand and strengthen our bonds of friendship and cooperation for the mutual benefit of our peoples," President Kenyatta said.
France's contribution to Kenya's tourism
The Kenyan leader observed that France continued to be one of the most important contributors to Kenya's tourism sector and expressed optimism that the visit by President Macron will help increase the number of French tourists visiting Kenya.
President Macron is accompanied on his two-day state visit by a large group of businessmen and investors who will be meeting with some of the key government agencies and the private sector players in Kenya to explore opportunities for investment.
"This is good for Kenya and for our development. Today, France is our 17th largest trading partner; my expectation is that France will grow into an even more important trading partner for Kenya as a result of this visit," President Kenyatta said.
Kenyatta, Macron sign partnership agreements
The two presidents later held bilateral talks culminating in the signing of the Partnership Agreement on Promotion and Exchange of Skills and Talents, and the Agreement on the Roadmap on University, Innovation, Research and Professional Training.
Other two instruments signed were the Statement of Intent for French Development Agency (ADF) support in the education sector and the Statement of Intent to pursue an MOU concerning the development of strategic infrastructure priority projects in Kenya.
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