A bilateral investment treaty between Singapore and Kenya, which aims to boost investments between the two nations, came into effect on Sunday.

The treaty, called Kenya-Singapore Bilateral Investment Treaty, was inked in 2018.  

Greater protection for Singapore investors

“The entry into force of the Kenya-Singapore Bilateral Investment Treaty is an important milestone that will further boost trade and investment flows between our countries,” Singaporean Minister for Trade & Industry Gan Kim Yong said in a press release. 

“It will offer greater protection for Singapore investors venturing into the Kenyan market, and vice versa, safeguarding investments and boosting investors’ confidence.” 

The treaty will ensure for investors of both countries the freedom to transfer capital and returns in and out of the country; non-discriminatory treatment compared with other foreign investments; and protection from illegal seizure of property. 

The signing of the treaty will further improve the economic relations between the two countries, which have only strengthened in recent years.  

Singapore and Kenya relations strengthen

“Our economic cooperation has been growing. Kenya is one of Singapore’s important trading partners in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a statement in May.  

“There is great potential to expand our bilateral cooperation. Kenya’s strategic location serves as a gateway for Singapore companies into East Africa. Likewise, Singapore can serve as a gateway for Kenyan companies into Southeast Asia.” 

Kenya has the strongest economy of the East African Community, an intergovernmental organisation composed of seven countries in the Great Lakes region of East Africa. 

In 2022, total bilateral trade in goods between Singapore and Kenya was SGD212.2 million, around USD156.3 million. Singapore’s imports from Kenya were worth SGD17.1 million, while Singapore’s exports to Kenya came to SGD195.1 million. 

The top exports to Kenya from Singapore include fuel oils, ethylene copolymers and synthetic filament yarn. Meanwhile, the top imports to Singapore from Kenya include avocados, raw hides and reptile leathers.  

Kenya was Singapore’s ninth largest trading partner in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2022. 

Kenya and Singapore also signed an avoidance of double taxation agreement in 2018, but this has yet to come into force.