Top 7 reasons to invest in Kenya

Aerial view of a section of the Kenyan capital Nairobi. PHOTO/FILE
Kenya has the largest, fastest growing and the most progressive economy in East Africa.

The country has the region’s best performing currency and constitutes 40 per cent of the East Africa Community’s gross domestic product. It has a strong development potential due to a emerging inclination towards urbanization and a rising middle class which has a yearning for high value goods and services.

Investment opportunities exist in different sectors including agriculture, mining, real estate, manufacturing, agro processing, infrastructure tourism and ICT. The following are some of the reasons Kenya continues to be an investment hub for many international companies.

1.) Tax treaties and preferential market access
Kenya provides potential investors with a diverse potential market due to its membership in regional and world trading bodies such as EAC, COMESA, AU, and WTO.

The country is also a signatory to protections agreements such as the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA), ACP Cotonou agreement and Multilateral Trade System (MTS). All these give exports from Kenya privileged access, duty reduction and freedom from quota restrictions in related world markets.

2.) Strategic location
Located on the East African coast, Kenya’s geographical location is strategic for investors who wish to access the East and Central African market which has a population of over 385 million consumers.

The Kenya – Uganda railway as well as the port of Mombasa, which is the largest deep water port in the region providing shipping requirements to over a dozen countries, form a gateway into the region while the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport provides international connectivity to Asia, Europe and other parts of Africa.

3.) Regulatory reforms
Kenya has instituted remarkable reforms geared towards significantly lowering the cost of starting up and running businesses in the country.

The reforms intend to simplify, make transparent and minimize the number of licensing requirements in addition to centering on legitimate regulatory functions.

The foreign investment act in the Kenyan constitution guarantees protection of life and private property as well as confiscation of private property by the government. The country is also a member and signatory to International Centre for Settlement of Investment which solves conflicts between host countries and foreign investors.

4.) Highly educated and skilled labour force
Kenya revels in a large number of highly educated, qualified and skilled multilingual work force. It comprises mostly of locally trained professionals with a small percentage having been trained in other institutions around the world.

About 55 per cent of the Kenyan population falls between the age of 15-60 years meaning that most of them are fit to provide labour in diverse sectors of the economy.

5.) Well established and vocal private sector
The private sector in Kenya is very significant and has been termed as one of the most resilient ones in the world. It has a significant number of foreign investors in different aspects of the economy.

The sector has three main organizations mandated with voicing its concerns namely; The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), the Kenya Private Sector Alliance(KEPSA) and Federation of Kenya Employers(FKE).

In addition, regular round table dialogues between the stakeholders in the sector and the government are held in a bid to address the challenges being faced by the investors.

6.) Transport infrastructure
Kenya forms part of the Northern corridor infrastructure and has embarked on building a high speed railway line from the port of Mombasa to Nairobi then to Uganda and finally to Rwanda.

Furthermore, a new port is under construction in Lamu as well as a railway line linking it to Ethiopia and South Sudan. The country also boasts of a vast road network which is presently undergoing an overhaul aimed at adding 10,000 km of tarmacked roads by the year 2017.

All this will position the country as a transport hub and open up new avenues and regions for investment.

7.) Stability
Despite changes in its political system due to its multiparty democracy, Kenya has continued to have repressive stability.

The new constitution promulgated in 2010 has gone a long way in enhancing political stability by providing for separation of powers in different arm of the government.

Such stability has allowed for remarkable standards of living and development of high quality social amenities including schools, hospitals, restaurants and leisure spots making the country boast of a high number of expatriates living and working in it.