Strathmore University recently hosted the UK Prime Minister Teresa May during her official visit to Kenya during the Kenya-UK Business Forum, where she was the guest of honor. Being the first UK Prime Minister to have visited the country in 30 years, the visit was not only of great significance to Strathmore but also to the country at large.
Accompanied by Kenya’s President, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, the event signified the long-standing relationship that Kenya has had with UK. And that the relationship between Kenya and the UK will continue to reap mutual benefits for both Nations. Currently, British companies are among the largest investors in the country with companies employing over 250,000 people thus assisting in growing the Kenyan economy.
With a delegation of 29 representatives of UK business which included Trade Minister George Hollingbery, Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin and senior business leaders from London, as well as several others representing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from across the United Kingdom and its devolved administration, Theresa May announced the entry of twenty new UK businesses in Kenya which will improve Kenya’s economy by increasing employment opportunities as well as increase exports and introduce more products.
The Prime Minister noted President Uhuru Kenyatta’s effort in creating an enabling and conducive environment for the growth of the private sector in Kenya. Generally, Kenya has had a conducive investment climate that has continued to attract foreigners who want to set up shop in Kenya for their operations as the country continues to make improvements to its regulatory framework.
According to the British Prime Minister; “Here in Kenya you have some of Africa’s vibrant and creative young people. To harness their potential, the young people need access to food and well-paying jobs which can only be achieved through private sector involvement”.
The Kenyan President ascertained that the private sector was at the heart of Kenya’s economic development and stressed of his commitment and support to creating a conducive environment for doing business. He explained that his Government was ready to offer any support to any investor willing to venture into any of the sectors involved including manufacturing so as to move the country’s exports up the value chain and supplement the existing export offerings.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Kenya soared to $672 million (Sh67.7 billion) according to (United Nations Trade and Development) UNCTAD 2017 statistics. Africa resource potential remains untapped and has been on the investment radar of many multinationals for decades this is a positive note as foreign investment continues to play a huge role in Kenya and Africa as a whole.
The President also pointed out that reforms undertaken by his Government are bearing fruit citing that Kenya has become more competitive in attracting investments according to the World Bank Doing Business 2017 Report which placed Kenya at position 80 out of 190 countries.
“The UK is a major source of Kenya’s foreign direct investments (FDI), contributing around 40% of Kenya’s total FDI inward flows annually. Indeed, UK is the number one investor in Kenya,” said President Kenyatta.