[Kenya Business Week] Deepening partnerships, growing foreign direct investment
As Kenya continues to position itself as the East African regional economic supremo, it has been angling for partnerships and sealing deals that are set to have transformative impacts on key sectors of the economy spanning across agribusiness, energy and tourism if the events of this week are anything to go by.
It is also a week that the ICT sector has continued to dominate the headlines with investments and buyouts that now place the country in global headlines.
In one of the biggest investment in the manufacturing sector, that further gives a boost to Kenya’s guest for the Big four, an economic agenda anchored on three key sectors of the economy, global beverage company Coca Cola launched a $70 million juice line at its Nairobi plant.
The first of its kind in the region will manufacture an array of products including fruit juices, sports drinks, dairy fusions and iced tea. It is set to have a positive impact on 30,000 local farmers during fruit harvest season and over 1500 employees working at the plant.
Still on the foreign direct investment front, Gulf Energy, the developer of the 1050Mw Lamu Coal Power Plant, Amu Power, the largest private sector led infrastructure project in East and Central Africa, sealed a Clean Coal Technology agreement with General Electric, GE, that will see the plant use GE’s Ultra-Supercritical Clean Coal Technology making it one of the most technologically advanced coal fired power plants in the world.
The Agreement will also see GE through its affiliates acquire a stake in the equity of Amu Power, subject to obtaining regulatory, board and lenders’ approval.
The fruits of foreign investment are being enjoyed even within the devolved system of government.The European Union also this week invested 1 million Euro to the Mango and fruit processing plant for Makueni County in Eastern Kenya, the first county to benefit from an investment grant under the Instrument for Devolution Advice and Support (IDEAS) program.
The Makueni County Fruit Processing plant aims to reduce post-harvest losses and increase market competitiveness for the local farmers
IDEAS seeks to support capacities in the responsible transfer and use of resources for the achievement of local economic development at county level.
And as the government steps up efforts to promote tourism, as a key foreign exchange earner, the private sector is rallying behind that call with the banking sector leading from the front. Stanbic Bank Kenya and Industrial Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), this week launched a new initiative to promote tourism between Kenya and China by offering incentives for travel, shopping and leisure to tourists visiting the two countries.
Under the ‘I Go Kenya – I Go China’ loyalty programme, Chinese tourists visiting Kenya will receive discounts and special offers whenever they use ICBC cards at selected travel, hospitality and lifestyle merchants in the country. Kenyan tourists visiting China will also enjoy similar incentives when using Stanbic Bank Kenya cards. According to statistics from the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB), China is among Kenya’s top-five tourism source markets, contributing 5.5 per cent of the traffic in 2017.
On the ICT front, General Electric and Shining Hope for Communities in collaboration with Kids Comp Camp in Kenya have forged a partnership to increase girls’ participation and uptake of careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
The initiative seeks to close the wide gap in terms of women’s participation in STEM related careers after UNESCO recently revealed that only 28% of women globally are currently working in science and technology related fields.
The coding challenge saw some 46 girls in Grades 6 and 7 at the SHOFCO School for girls undergo an engaging session of coding challenges facilitated by Kids Comp Camp and career guidance session with GE Women Network.
And for the umpteenth time, Kenyan ICT companies continued attracting gobal investments. This week The Rise Fund, a global impact investing fund managed by growth equity platform TPG Growth, signed an agreement to acquire a stake in Cellulant, a digital payments provider that started in Kenya and now reaches 40 million people across 11 African countries.
The deal is the largest of its kind dedicated solely to Africa’s fintech and payments space, competitively positioning Cellulant in a fast-growing sector where it already enjoys an early mover advantage.