Authority pleads with investors to stay

September 25, 2008

, NAIROBI, September 25- The Kenya Investment Authority has appealed to investors who have threatened to relocate to other countries due to the high costs of doing business not to leave. 

The authority’s Managing Director Susan Kikwai said on Wednesday that they were taking several measures aimed at ensuring that the cost of energy in the country was reduced in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy.

“It worries us a lot when we hear that some manufacturers or other business people want to relocate.  But we are telling them, hold on please, Kenya is the place to be,” she emphasised.

Ms Kikwai told Capital Business in an interview that she was due to hold a meeting on Wednesday afternoon with an investor who wanted to finance the generation of 50MW of wind energy.

“They are looking at starting the project at the Coast but they will expand to other areas,” she said.

Ms Kikwai also disclosed that the financier, who had settled on Kenya after exploring other East African countries, was involved with a foreign university that had expressed interest in repatriating some of its profits into the development of technology in the country.

“I will be taking them around to see some of the technology that the country has to offer such as the Numerical Machining complex.  From there we can see how we can get them to teach our jua kali sector how to develop technology such as wind turbines,” she noted.

She added that the authority was working to promote the opportunities that exist not only in the energy sector but in other industries such as tourism, manufacturing and ICT that are among the six sectors identified under the Vision 2030.

“We need to target more investors to come into all those areas,” she emphasised.

She however also decried Kenya’s ranking as the 16th most corrupt country in sub-Saharan Africa, saying this would hamper their efforts to market the country as an investment hub. Such a negative progress report, she stressed, was bound to deter investors due to the many hurdles they think, they might have to grapple with. She advised that do fight the vice, the country needed to consider introducing good governance to everybody including children.

Ms Kikwai noted that although enquiries by people wishing to invest in the country had gone down due the post election violence, the applications had picked up in the last couple of months.

“There is investment demand in all sectors from both the foreigners and local investors,” she said adding that she has been processing two applications daily.

This interest, she explained stemmed from the economic growth rate that has been recorded in the last five years. With profit levels of over 30 percent, Kenya and Africa in general present an opportunity for financiers to invest in the continent.

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