[Kenya Business Week] US key investment target in Africa
10-01-2019 13:10:52 | by: Bob Koigi | hits: 973 | Tags:

As the US seeks to promote intraregional trade and commercial ties with its African allies, shifting its focus from “indiscriminate aid” to one of trade and investment, it has this week, outlined its Africa strategy by reiterating its commitment to strong partnerships with key countries in Africa, specifically naming Kenya as a target for future US aid and investment.

Last year President Uhuru Kenyatta was on a business tour to the United States where he witnessed the signing of two agreements that will see two US companies invest $238 million worth of projects in Kenya as he urged the US government to facilitate the operations of US businesses Africa. This as USTDA’s Director of Congressional and Public Affairs, Thomas R. Hardy, joined President Kenyatta at a roundtable discussion with U.S. businesses hosted by the Business Council for International Understanding in Washington, D.C. Kenya has previously bolstered its trade relations with ZambiaSouth KoreaSouth Africa, India among other trading partners. Kenya and US last year negotiated deals between the two countries worth 1$00 million signed at the US-Kenya conference in Nairobi.

This week, government agencies have sounded the alarm over key activities and events that could disrupt businesses or swindle unsuspecting Kenyans. The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) has cautioned the public against participating in any initial coin offering or trading in any currency exchange offered by Wiseman Talent Ventures.

On the other hand, The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), has warned of a new malware targeting network systems in the country. It says it has so far detected 11 cases targeting local institutions.

In energy, ALTEN Energías Renovables has confirmed its choice of the French company Voltalia to carry out EPC and O&M service on its new PV solar power plant which will produce 40MWac of power, accounting for 2% of the installed capacity in Kenya. 

GE Renewable Energy and GE Energy Financial Services have also this week partnered to provide technology and advisory support for iKipeto Energy Plc's 100-megawatt (MW) wind power project is located in Kajiado. 

Kenya has reiterated its commitment to attain 100 per cent transition to green energy by 2020 as it scales up investment in renewable energy to address the climate change challenge concretely. Reports have posited that creation of the right framework and clear policy is critical in Kenya’s renewable energy deployment and usage. A clean energy revolution has been taking shape in Kenya is being driven by citizens and institutions as appetite for renewable energy rises to new highs. Organizations that have been at the forefront of championing this renewable energy drive include Crossboundary GroupGreenpactOrb Energy and JinkoSolar among others. 

A stanbic bank report released this week has shows that Kenyan private sector businesses enjoyed a solid improvement in operating conditions during the month of December, 2018. 

The private sector is a key driver of a countrry's economic growth.  Kenya’s private sector economy improved solidly in November last year although the rates of growth in output and new orders were marginally below those seen in October according to reports by the bank. 

June last year report had signaled a robust, albeit softer, improvement in business conditions across Kenya’s private sector. This was signaled by sharp, albeit slower, rises in output and new business. A similar one in February indicated that private sector output growth accelerated to fastest in two years in January. 

In ICT, Telkom has launched Free Zones for its pre-paid voice customers. The Telkom Free zones according to the operator is part of its commitment to offer more value and benefit to its customers. This, coming after an year that saw the company enter into numerous partnerships including with LoonEuropean Investment Bankunveiled 200 new 4G sites in Nairobileasing its 723 communication towers to  American Tower Corporation, unveiling its mobile money platform 
and appointing Mugo Kibati as CEO

Safaricom has also made major announcements this week. It has launched an M-Pesa overdraft facility for its customersunveiled an initiative that aims at positively transforming lives of communities across Kenya and opened applications for its 2019 technology internship program.

This week, more than 70 Kenyan secondary school students from over 30 schools across the country have concluded a six-week ICT youth innovation training programme at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology

Cytonn in its latest report has noted that the real estate sector in 2018, recorded continued investment across all themes driven by the political stability following the conclusion of the electioneering. This follows the Kenya Retail Sector Report - 2018 it released last year which showed that Mombasa and Mt. Kenya are the best regions for retail real estate development because of high retail space demand. The company also releases other dedicated sectoral reports including on the banking sector. 

Catalyst Principal Partners, a Nairobi-based private equity firm has acquired three top tier mattress manufacturers in Uganda, Malawi and Kenya; Euroflex Limited, Vitafoam Limited, and Superfoam Limited respectively.