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The UK is the largest foreign investor in Kenya. There are more than 250 British companies based in Kenya and valued at over KSh260 billion (£2 billion). Notable UK firms in Kenya include Unilever, Standard Chartered Bank, GlaxoSmithKline, De La Rue, and ACTIS. The companies employ approximately 10 per cent of the formal sector workers, contribute taxes to the economy, set standards, and spur innovations in the country.
The UK is keen on strengthening ties with Kenya due to the many investment opportunities in the country. The nation has numerous exciting opportunities in tech, energy, agriculture, infrastructure, logistics, and financial services.
Kenya’s economy is the most attractive to impact investors in East Africa. Close to half of the KSh424 billion ($4.2 billion) invested in the region comes to Kenya. The country is the third largest private equity market in Sub-Saharan Africa, closely behind South Africa and Nigeria.
According to UK’s Deputy High Commissioner to Kenya, Susie Kitchens, Britain has a lot to gain by partnering on financing good Kenyan companies. The European nation has invested KSh13 billion (£100 million) in science and research projects in Kenya. The projects include the Royal Academy of Engineering Africa Prize for innovation and Africa at Oxford University initiative.
Speaking in Nairobi during the launch of the London Stock Exchange Group’s ‘Companies to Inspire Africa 2019 roadshow’, Susie Kitchens said, “We, the UK, are part of your innovation and development story. Working with the government of Kenya we steward the £100 million of UK science and research funding in Kenya, supporting African solutions to African challenges.”
The British government also supports Kenyan businesses through its development finance institution, the CDC group. The institution has investments worth KSh78 billion (£600 million) in East Africa. Half of that amount, KSh39 billion (£300 million), is invested in Kenyan companies.
The group’s Managing Director in Africa Tenbite Ermias said, “We want to invest in things that create jobs, mobilize capital, and improve business standards.”