[East Africa Business Week] Bob Koigi: East Africa positions itself as investment destination of choice
The East African community continues to live up to its billing as a prime investment destination for investors going by the flurry of activities and developments that have been witnessed lately featuring multinationals, venture capitalists and game changing deals.
The region’s businesses and startups continue to grow their foothold beyond East Africa, buoyed by demand for their services and competitiveness of their offerings. Numerous studies posit that the East African economic growth is poised for stronger growth despite COVID-19 setback thanks to sustained public spending on infrastructure and improved performance of the agricultural sector.
Only recently global fast food chain Papa John's International through its franchise partner Kitchen announced plans to open 60 restaurants in Kenya and Uganda, with four of these restaurants planned to open in 2022, beginning in Nairobi. The partnership will enable Hass Petroleum to leverage its significant retail footprint as it introduces new customers to the Papa Johns brand.
UK financial development institution CDC Group and global manufacturer of building materials Holcim have selected Kenya as the first country in Africa to build Africa’s largest 3D-printed affordable housing project. The 52 house Mvule Gardens project will be located in Kilifi town, north of Mombasa, in Kenya
Moove, an African mobility fintech, has launched operations in Nairobi, its first city in East Africa and sixth on the continent.
To expand their vehicle and product offerings to customers, the revenue-based vehicle financing company has partnered with Uber to allow ride-hailing and delivery drivers to purchase motorcycles for Uber Connect, UberEats deliveries and UberBoda trips.
Global tech conglomerate Meta has announced a new partnership with HerHustle to launch a program to equip women entrepreneurs in Kenya with the knowledge and digital skills to grow their businesses online.
Known as ‘SheMeansBusiness’, the program aims to train over 3,000 women-owned businesses in the country.
In Uganda, DriveWealth, LLC, a US pioneer in fractional investing and embedded finance, has entered into partnership with Chipper Cash, a Ugandan fintech startup enabling peer-to-peer money transfers and cross-border payments for nearly four million users.
DriveWealth's real-time fractional trading technology and API-based brokerage infrastructure will enable the Ugandan population to gain affordable access to investing in U.S. equities for the first time.
Toronto-based mobility startup Treepz has also expanded into East Africa by acquiring Uganda bus service Ugabus.
In Tanzania, Tech Mahindra, a global provider of digital transformation, consulting and business re-engineering services & solutions, has collaborated with Tanzania Electric Supply Company Ltd. (TANESCO) for one of the biggest Utility Transformation deals.
The deal is aimed at enabling digital transformation for TANESCO in order to support future ready applications including Geo Information System, IT Infra/Network, while improving agility and returns on investment through technology-led transformation.
The East African startup space has also recorded brisk business in the recent past.
The African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank) and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) recently held an event to congratulate 5 burgeoning startups who are shaping East Africa's healthcare sector.
The 5 healthcare startups were feted for their completion of the Home Grown Solutions (HGS) Accelerator for Pandemic Resilience. HGS is an initiative that aims to accelerate the growth of African healthcare companies to strengthen Africa’s pandemic resilience.
On the other hand Kenyan digital advertising startup Wowzi has raised $2 million in seed funding to expand its digital marketplace across Africa.
Wowzi says it plans to use the new funding to set up operations in Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa as well as unveil new products. The startup currently operates in Uganda and Tanzania.
And health tech startup Zuri Health has launched its operations in Senegal. The startup has partnered with Expresso Senegal to launch its operations in the country.
Expresso Senegal, a subsidiary of the Expresso Telecom group is a telecommunications operator in Senegal that offers services adapted to internet, calls and SMS with the 4G technology and business and roaming solutions.
Bob Koigi is the East African Region Editor at Africa Business Communities
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