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Siemens to invest Sh22b in Africa

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 23 – European engineering conglomerate Siemens says it plans to invest £200 million (Sh22.4 billion) in Africa.

The money will go towards funding projects in energy, health care and infrastructure development sectors, which it says have great potential under the ‘One Africa Strategy.’

Speaking to Capital Business, Siemens Southern Africa Chief Executive Stuart Clarkson said Africa is a major growth point in the world, and the company is looking at unlocking the existing potential on the continent.

"Certainly African economies are growing much faster than some of the traditional Siemens markets in Europe. The ‘One Africa Strategy’ is aimed at coordinating activities throughout Africa focusing on major growth markets," Mr Clarkson said.

In Kenya, Siemens is better known for its involvement in the telecommunications sector. The group however divested that line of business choosing to focus mainly on infrastructure development.

Mr Clarkson is part of the Siemens management team in the country to hold talks with government officials as well as private sector players on priority areas they could invest in locally.

One area Siemens is keen on making a heavy investment in Kenya is renewable energy development mainly in wind and solar energy.

"Having said that we are very much involved in hydro electric plants, the establishment, development and upgrading of such plants because we know that is the focus in Kenya as well," he said.

The government has already said that it will be focusing on renewable sources of energy with massive investments already being made in geothermal and wind energy.

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President Mwai Kibaki recently announced that government had mobilized Sh162.6 billion for green energy development. The Ministry of Energy is also working on developing nuclear energy.

Another area in which Siemens has showed great interest is the expansion of the railway infrastructure in the country.

"We are very interested in any development of the rail network and we are in the process of setting up discussions with stakeholders both in the industry and government," Mr Clarkson said.

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