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Media Releases
13 Jun 2018 Updated 13 Jun 2019

Enterprise Singapore opens overseas centre in Kenya to spearhead Singapore companies’ entry into fast-growing East Africa

MR No.: 015/18

Singapore, Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Singapore companies to look forward to capturing opportunities in fintech, urban solutions, manufacturing, consumerism, logistics

  1. Enterprise Singapore (ESG) opened its third overseas centre in Africa today to facilitate Singapore companies’ entry into East Africa and boost two-way trade and investment flows. Enterprise Singapore has identified key growth sectors in East Africa such as fintech, e-commerce, logistics, light manufacturing, urban solutions and energy, where Singapore companies can contribute. Located in Nairobi, Kenya, the new overseas centre will serve as a regional hub for East Africa, complementing Enterprise Singapore’s existing regional hubs in Johannesburg (South Africa) and Accra (Ghana)1.

  2. The opening was officiated by Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister of State (SMS) for Trade and Industry Dr Koh Poh Koon, and Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Ministry of Industry, Trade & Cooperatives Mr Adan Mohamed. Over 250 business and government leaders from Singapore and Africa attended the opening ceremony. DPM Shanmugaratnam and SMS Koh are visiting Kenya and Rwanda from 12 - 14 June 2018. They are accompanied by 20 Singapore companies on a business mission jointly organised by Singapore Business Federation and Enterprise Singapore.

  3. Said Mr Yew Sung Pei, Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Singapore, “Today, over 60 Singapore companies operate in Africa across more than 50 countries. Interest from Singapore companies is growing. Our new office in Nairobi will actively identify opportunities for Singapore companies, broaden our networks, and strengthen the Singapore brand in the fast-growing region. With three regional hub offices in Sub-Saharan Africa2, Enterprise Singapore has built a comprehensive in-market network to facilitate Singapore companies’ entry into the continent.”

  4. The growing bilateral economic ties with Africa were further cemented with the signings of a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) and Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) between Singapore and Kenya yesterday, witnessed by DPM Shanmugaratnam. On 14 June 2018, Singapore will also sign a BIT and an Air Services Agreement (ASA) with Rwanda. These agreements add to Singapore’s fast-growing treaty network with Africa, boosting cross-border trade and investment flows. (Please refer to media releases from MTI and MFA)

  5. Tapping East Africa’s strong potential

  6. Accounting for 22% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s total GDP, East Africa is the fastest-growing region in the continent. It grew 5.9% in 2017 to S$467.6 billion. The region is well-connected and is home to some of the fastest-growing economies in Africa, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Kenya, with its stable growth and business-friendly environment, is the gateway to East Africa. It grew 5.1% in 20173 and is expected to grow further at 5.5% this year4.

  7. Growing ties between Singapore and Kenya

  8. Six Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) were exchanged today between Singapore and Kenyan partners covering corporate governance, e-payment and trade facilitation. For example:

    1. Red Dot Payment5 signed an MOU with Finserve Africa Limited6, a subsidiary of Equity Bank7, to collaborate on alternative e-payment methods such as WeChat and Alipay in Kenya.

    2. CCRManager8 signed an MOU with Stanbic Bank9 to collaborate on a global platform for financial assets trading and to improve trade financing capacity.
      (Please see list of MOUs in Annex 1)
  9. From 28 to 29 August 2018, Enterprise Singapore will organise the fifth edition of the Africa Singapore Business Forum (ASBF), where delegates will discuss business opportunities, network and form potential partnerships. Participants can expect to glean insights on new topics including financing, digital technology and real estate. ASBF 2018 also sees greater representation of speakers from different regions of Africa.

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For media enquiries and/or photos, please contact:

In Kenya

Ms Cheryl HOW
Business Partner
Corporate Communications
DID: +65 6433 4655
Email: cheryl_how@enterprisesg.gov.sg

In Singapore

Ms Fizzah RAHMAN
Business Partner
Corporate Communications
DID: +65 6279 3170
Email: fizzah_rahman@enterprisesg.gov.sg

About Enterprise Singapore

Enterprise Singapore, formerly International Enterprise Singapore and SPRING Singapore, is the government agency championing enterprise development. We work with committed companies to build capabilities, innovate and internationalise.

We also support the growth of Singapore as a hub for global trading and startups. As the national standards and accreditation body, we continue to build trust in Singapore’s products and services through quality and standards.

Visit www.enterprisesg.gov.sg for more information.


List of Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs)


Memoranda of Understanding


AASK Advisory Services Pte Ltd - Anjarwalla & Khanna

Collaboration on providing advisory and audit services, and trainings on corporate governance



Ascent Solutions Pte Ltd - Finserve Africa Limited

Collaboration to incorporate mobile payment gateway to improve automation and efficiency



CCRManager Pte Ltd - Stanbic Bank (K) Ltd

Collaboration on a global platform for financial assets trading and to improve trade financing capacity



CrimsonLogic Pte Ltd - Kenya Trade Network Agency

Collaboration on enhancement and the use of new technology for trade facilitation



Red Dot Payment Pte Ltd – Finserve Africa Limited

Partnership to provide alternative e-payment methods to Equity Bank



vCargo Cloud Pte Ltd - Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Partnership to develop an electronic certificate of origin (eCO) on Blockchain to improve verification of trade documents



Opening address by Mr Yew Sung Pei,
Assistant CEO, Enterprise Singapore,
At the official opening of Enterprise Singapore's Nairobi overseas centre
On Wednesday, 13 June 2018,
Villa Rosa Kempinski Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya

Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies,

Mr Adan Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for Ministry of Industry, Trade & Cooperatives,

Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning.

  1. Welcome to the opening of Enterprise Singapore’s Nairobi Overseas Centre.

  2. Enterprise Singapore is the Singapore government agency championing enterprise development. We work with committed Singapore-based companies to build capabilities, innovate and internationalise. We also support the growth of Singapore as a hub for global trading and startups. Our offices across 35 global locations connect Singapore companies to market opportunities and international partners like yourselves.

  3. Singapore is a small country, with a population of 5.6 million. Our domestic market is a small one. To grow, Singapore companies have to expand beyond our shores.

  4. Africa is clearly a market with tremendous growth potential. Despite challenging times in recent years, Africa’s economic fundamentals remain strong, with growth projected to rise to an average of 3.6 percent between 2019 to 202010.

  5. Growing economic linkages between Africa and Singapore

  6. The economic links between Africa and Singapore have been strengthening. Since 2007, trade between Singapore and Africa has grown by 17%, reaching US$7.7 billion in 201711.

  7. To boost two-way trade flows and opportunities, Singapore has been actively expanding our network of bilateral agreements with African nations. I am delighted to inform you that yesterday, Singapore signed an Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) and a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with Kenya. These agreements are expected to clarify the taxing rights of the signatory countries on all forms of income flows arising from cross-border business activities. This will create greater confidence for investors from both sides.

  8. At the private sector level, Singapore companies’ interest in Africa is also growing. To date, Singapore’s investments in Africa amount to more than US$19 billion, across sectors such as urban and industrial development, affordable housing, and transport and logistics. There are now over 60 Singapore companies operating in more than 50 countries in Africa!

  9. Let me share examples of two Singapore companies that are making inroads into East Africa:

    1. Meinhardt, ranked among the largest independent engineering consulting firms globally, is providing lead engineering, structural and MEP services for the Pinnacle Towers development in Nairobi. This mixed-use project will comprise a 66-storey office tower, a 40-storey hotel tower and a retail podium. I understand that when completed in 2020, Pinnacle Towers will be the tallest building in Africa.

    2. TransferTo, a cross-border mobile payments network company is now collaborating with PayPal & Safaricom’s M-PESA. TransferTo’s payment solution will enable Kenyan customers to seamlessly transfer money between PayPal and M-PESA mobile wallets. For Kenyan consumers, this means that they can now make transactions on global e-marketplaces. For online businesses and individual sellers, they can now sell their items safely and securely on such marketplaces leveraging PayPal’s global reach.
  10. I am delighted to share that more partnerships are being forged. Later this morning, we will witness the exchange of six Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) between Singapore and Kenyan partners. These partnerships cover corporate governance, e-payment, trade facilitation, and are testament to the diversity of opportunities that can be co-created between Singapore and Kenya.

  11. Enterprise Singapore’s Overseas Centre in Nairobi

  12. Enterprise Singapore is confident that we can drive more such meaningful collaborations with the set-up of our new overseas centre in Nairobi. To support Singapore companies’ ventures in Africa, we established our overseas centres since 2013, in Johannesburg (South Africa) and Accra (Ghana). Over the past three years, Singapore companies have gained good traction in East Africa, leading to the opening of our overseas centre in Nairobi today.

  13. East Africa is an economic powerhouse, growing at 5.9% in 2017 and accounting for 22% of Sub Saharan Africa’s total GDP12. The region’s economy is well-diversified, and home to some of the fastest-growing markets including Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

  14. Kenya is a key regional hub in East Africa. It grew 5.1%13 in 2017 and is expected to grow further at 5.5%14 this year. It is now pushing the development of its ‘Big Four’ focus pillars, namely Universal Healthcare, Manufacturing, Low Cost Housing and Food Security. Singapore has accumulated extensive experience and capabilities in these areas and will be glad to participate in this important undertaking.

  15. With Kenya’s position as a gateway to East Africa, Nairobi was the natural choice to set up our third overseas centre in Africa. Our Nairobi overseas centre will be headed by Mr Rahul Ghosh, our Regional Group Director.

  16. We will focus on key growth sectors including but not limited to digital services, urban infrastructure solutions, manufacturing, logistics and consumerism.

  17. For East African firms keen to expand into Asia, we encourage you to consider Singapore as a springboard. Many Singapore companies are well-connected to and familiar with Asia. They can be good partners for you to expand into third countries together.

  18. Conclusion

  19. Before I conclude, I would like to invite all of you to join us at the Africa Singapore Business Forum (ASBF) taking place from 28-29 August in Singapore. The Forum, organised by Enterprise Singapore, is a key platform where business leaders from Africa and Asia come together to network and explore business opportunities.

  20. Once again, I thank all of you for taking the time to join us to celebrate this important milestone. I wish you all a fruitful session and I hope to see you in Singapore in August.

  21. Thank you.

1 Enterprise Singapore’s Johannesburg and Accra overseas centres serve the Southern and Western regions of Sub-Saharan Africa respectively.

2 The three regional hub offices are in Accra (West Africa), Johannesburg (Southern Africa) and Nairobi (East Africa).

3 AfDB, African Economic Outlook (2018)

4 The World Bank, Global Economic Prospects (Jan 2018)

5 Red Dot Payment is a Singapore online payment company providing payment solutions and expertise to merchants across Asia Pacific.

6 Finserve Africa Limited is a mobile virtual network operator in Kenya, wholly owned by Equity Bank.

7 Equity Bank Kenya offers personal banking, corporate and internet banking services.

8 CCRManager is a Singapore company that invests in and operates technology platforms and financial solutions for the global trade and working capital industry.

9 Stanbic Bank Kenya is a corporate and retail bank in Kenya.

10The World Bank, Global Economic Prospects (Jan 2018)

11 Department of Statistics, Ministry of Trade and Industry

12 AfDB, African Economic Outlook (2018)

13 AfDB, African Economic Outlook (2018)

14 The World Bank, Global Economic Prospects (Jan 2018)