Are you an international investor looking for an investment location in Africa? Kenya should be at the top of the list. Kenya’s economy is among the fastest-growing economies on the continent and is an economic power in the Eastern Africa region. Of late, there has been a marked rise in investment by foreigners in Kenya, with a particular influx of investors from the US, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, and China. This is a result of favorable conditions in the country that attract international investors. There are many reasons investors are choosing Kenya - below are the main reasons why any international investor should consider Kenya as an investment priority:
1. Kenya’s Economy is the Largest in the Region
Among all the countries in Eastern Africa, Kenya’s economy is not only the most advanced but also the largest. Kenya accounts for more than 50 percent of the region’s total GDP. In 2019, Kenya’s GDP stood at 95.5 billion US dollars, which represents 0.08 percent of the world economy. For the last 20 years, Kenya has witnessed major economic growth with a significant growth margin in manufacturing, health, transport logistics and infrastructure, information communication technology, tourism, agriculture, real estate, and trade sectors.
2. It has a Low-Risk Investment Environment
The investment climate in Kenya is the strongest among the eastern African countries. Moreover, there are many developed markets and multinational companies whose regional and continental headquarters are in the country. There is also a large emerging middle class with an appetite for high-value goods and services, hence providing a ready market for quality products and services.
3. Government Incentives
Kenya has developed many laws and policies that are meant to give incentives to international investors. Some inducements enshrined in the policies and laws include 100 percent investment allowances on manufacturing, exemption on duty and Value-Added Tax on equipment, raw material imports, and production machines, and by setting aside zones for export processing. These special economic zones are provided for in an act of parliament called the Export Processing Zones Act, Chapter 517, to promote export-oriented investment. These zones are meant to enable investors to perform activities that are geared towards exportation such as manufacturing, commercial, and service activities. Foreign investors are allowed to set up an Export Processing Zone by obtaining a license to develop or operate a zone on land that is designated as an Export Processing Zone. Due to these attractive incentives coupled with many other factors, Kenya was ranked 56th by the World Bank for ease of doing business worldwide in 2020.
4. Wide Market Access
Among countries best suited for international investment, Kenya is at the top. It is easy for people who have invested in Kenya to reach other markets such as the East African Community and other regional market blocs like the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa. Kenya is also strategically located within Eastern Africa. Its access to the sea makes it easy for investors to capitalize easily on other markets worldwide.
5. Political Stability
Kenya has a foreign investment protection act that dates back to 1964. The act stipulates the framework under which foreign investors can do their business legally to ensure that they enjoy maximum legal protection for their property and provide a good environment for foreigners to do business. It also enjoys good diplomatic relationships with other neighboring countries, allowing it to consolidate its economic position globally.
6. Improved Infrastructure
There is considerable infrastructural development in the country. The development of standard road networks makes it easy and economical to access any part of the country, allowing investors to distribute their products locally and internationally due to good road connectivity. The country has also put a lot of effort into reviving and developing railway transport, which makes it convenient for investors to transport raw materials and other products from the port of Mombasa to any part of the country. There is marked growth in information telecommunications to ensure that there is wide internet coverage as well as reliable telephone services with affordable rates.
7. Presence of an Established Private Sector
Kenya’s Vision 2030 has positively influenced the development of both public and private business partnerships, thereby influencing foreign investment inflow. This has led to a strong mix of both national and international investors in Kenya. Both international and local investors get equal legal and administrative treatments in the country thanks to favorable business laws. There is also a legal charter in place that features business cohesion and negotiation aspects intended to help an amicable settlement of disputes and differences.
8. Skilled and Educated Labor Force
Kenya has friendly, industrious people who can be relied on when it comes to the provision of both skilled and unskilled labor. 55% of Kenya’s population is between 15 and 64 years old, which means the country has a sufficient workforce. The majority of these people are highly educated and skilled, making it possible for firms to get effective personnel at affordable rates. Availability of affordable human resources leads to a low cost of production.
9. Favorable Policy on Investment
An investment policy was launched in Kenya in 2019. The policy is meant to boost foreign investment into the country and to anchor the private sector’s role in economic development. The policy stipulates that foreign investors will be given an investment certificate by the IPA if they commit a minimum capital of 100,000 US dollars, which maximizes beneficial Foreign Direct Investment and minimizes its potential negative effects.
Kenya is one of the main economic hubs in Africa and is strategically located within the Eastern Africa region. Its sound business laws foster foreign investment. The presence of an affordable labor force in the country promotes business growth and success, thereby making Kenya a gold mine for international investors looking for a potential location for investment.