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Kenya: Strong Investment Case Still Present

Anna Lyudvig
Oct. 16, 2023, 9:19 p.m.

Word count: 586

Kenya has a wide range of sectors with ready-to-be accessed investment opportunities, according to panelists of the Kenya Investment Summit at the AFSIC - Investing in Africa 2023.

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Kenya has a wide range of sectors with ready-to-be accessed investment opportunities, according to panelists of the Kenya Investment Summit at the AFSIC - Investing in Africa 2023.

Theo Clarke MP, the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Trade Envoy to Kenya, said that the United Kingdom is "absolutely committed" and remains one of the Kenya’s largest and most important foreign investors. 

“We have British businesses spread across multiple sectors. We have around 130 British companies currently working in Kenya with over 250,000 Kenyans,” she said.

According to Clarke, the UK government is really focused on green energy projects in Kenya.

Charlie Tryon, CEO, Maris, said: “For us, Kenya is the number one country that we are invested. Kenya is a more liquid market. There are multiple sectors to invest in Kenya, commented Tryon. 

“Kenya is one of four countries in the world that offers world class agricultural investments,” he said.

He added that 69% of all private equity investment flows into East Africa has been into Kenya.

Maris is invested in 12 different countries in Africa. Maris companies span five core sectors – Agriculture & Forestry, Renewable Energy, Services, Property, and Mining. “We found Kenya is a much easier investment destination,” commented Tryon. 

Ollen Machimbirike, Associate at Verdant Capital, added that there are many players in the financial services space. “That has created a lot of opportunities of us. Our sweet spot is the credit only microfinance institutions,” he said.

Graham Shaw, CEO at Wilken Group, said that healthcare and agriculture offer the real opportunity for investments.

“Political stability is one of the key fundamentals and that’s why Kenya is one step above,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tryon said that one of the big challenges in Kenya today is a legacy issue from previous governments. 

“They over indebted the country and spent a lot of the capital. I'm afraid the previous regime spent a lot of these euro bonds that they raised and they spent too easily and I think what you're seeing now is the government who are new to the job, and they've got an awful lot of work to do,” he said. 

“They've got to find a way to help default on their debt. Kenya's credit rating is under question. We do have some tough times ahead,” he said.

Nevertheless, he added that he is quite confident that “we will get through the next 12 months”. 

“It’s not going to be easy, but we then going to see some growth come back in the Kenya economy. I think the future is going to be interesting,” he added.

Andrew Halsall, CEO of Poa Internet, commented that in the next few months there are going to be some potential shocks in the system. We’ve invested significantly in Kenya and will continue to significantly invest in Kenya. There are some headwinds, like currency and inflationary pressures, and significant government debt to clear out, but underneath that you’ve got all the right ingredients for a very potent economy to invest into. 

The panel was moderated by Paul Kamau, Director at Finaltus.

The AFSIC 2023 agenda was investment focused, with several of the most experienced and successful asset management firms investing in Africa sharing insights into where smart money is investing, and business leaders running some of Africa’s most exciting growth companies showcasing new investment opportunities.

Content was centred around focused streams on Banking, Informed Investing, Building, Fintech Innovation, Sustainable Growth, Agriculture, and Power.

The AFSIC 2023 agenda covered content from a wide range of industry sectors from experts in their fields. 

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