A Proton Saga in Nairobi? As unlikely as that sounds, it will soon be reality, as the Malaysian carmaker has just shipped its first batch of cars to Kenya. The 30 units of Sagas got on a ship in knocked down CKD form, and will be assembled in the African nation by Simba Corporation, a conglomerate with a history in car sales and assembly.

Proton said that its decision to export the Saga in CKD form was made following close consultation with its Kenyan partner. Aside from attracting lower taxes by being locally assembled, CKD assembly will help spur development in Kenya’s auto manufacturing industry.

“While strengthening Proton’s domestic position is critical to truly be acknowledged as an international car maker, we need to see our products in places as diverse as Bangkok, Islamabad, Cairo and now, Nairobi,” said Datuk Radzaif Mohamed, Proton’s deputy CEO.

“On a national level, this will also increase the value of trade between Malaysia and Kenya and help to contribute to the creation of jobs in Kenya’s automotive industry,” he added.

The guest of honour for the ceremonial flag-off ceremony earlier this week was the Kenyan high commissioner for Malaysia, Francis N. Muhoro. In his address, Muhoro explained how his country has a Look East policy and his wish was for more Malaysian companies like Proton to discover the investment opportunities in Kenya.

“Malaysia and Kenya share many similarities, from a colonial past to our efforts in developing our nations. Proton’s entry in to the country is not just as an entry in to a market of 51 million people but it is also a gateway to a potential market of 1.3 billion inhabiting the African continent. Therefore, I am hopeful this will be just the start of more trade between our two nations,” the envoy said.