Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam is heading a 35-member business and government mission to East Africa as he makes official visits to Kenya and Rwanda. By The Straits Times



The delegation will visit both countries' capitals, meeting high-level government officials as well as representatives from the region's largest conglomerates.
The mission, which also involves the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG), will end on Saturday,
It comprises representatives from 20 companies and organisations, hailing from sectors such as info-communications technology; real estate and hospitality; construction and infrastructure-related services; shipping and logistics; agriculture and agribusiness; education; fintech solutions; manufacturing; fast-moving consumer goods; and general trade sectors.
The East Africa region's gross domestic product growth of 5.9 per cent last year was the best on the continent and above the average of 3.6 per cent, led by Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia.
SBF chairman Teo Siong Seng, who is leading the Kenya segment of the mission, said: "There is often the misperception of Africa being a big boy's market, when in reality it is more SME-friendly."
Mr Teo is also executive chairman and managing director of Pacific International Lines.
Leading the Rwanda segment is Mr Eugene Wong, chairman of digital consultancy CrimsonLogic, who said: "The Singapore brand of good quality, reliability and integrity is much welcomed in Africa."
CrimsonLogic has been in Africa since 1994, with business having "taken off" over the past five years and its Rwanda office opening this month, he added.
Mr Tharman, who is also Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, is visiting both countries as part of Singapore's increased engagement with countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. He is accompanied by Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon as well as officials from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and ESG.
In Nairobi, Mr Tharman will call on Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. He will meet Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente in Kigali.