It is the regional headquarters for Google, IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, SAP, General Electric and CISCO. To foster Kenya’s continued growth trajectory, the country has undertaken a comprehensive programme, Kenya Vision 2030, to modernise infrastructure, increase its tourism and strengthen its industrial presence.
With a rapidly expanding middle class, Kenya is a destination for investors looking for exposure to East Africa and its 140 million consumers. The free-trade Agreement signed in 2014 between the East African Communities (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the South African Development Community (SADC) provides even greater exposure offering market access to 600 million consumers.
Kenya’s nascent economy is also bolstered by a highly educated, English speaking and youthful workforce. Some 60% of Kenyans are 25 years old or younger.
Kenya’s tourism industry is a prime target for investment. According to the “Economic Impact 2015” report for Kenya by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the tourism sector’s total contribution to GDP was USD6.2BN in 2014. Due to past security concerns that are now abating and the decision by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office to lift a travel advisory against non-essential travel to coastal areas, there is strong potential to grow the tourism sector. According to the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index 2015, produced by the World Economic Forum, Kenya ranks 23rd out of 141 countries in the pillar of ‘Prioritisation of Travel and Tourism’ which measures the extent to which the government actively promotes and orchestrates the development of the Travel & Tourism sector. The government’s strategy is already paying off with Kenya jumping 25 ranks in the overall Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index between 2011 and 2015.
The government has introduced safeguards to protect the rights of both local and foreign investors. Kenya’s Foreign Investment Protection Action (FIPA) guarantees against government expropriation of private property. The constitution also explicitly protects property. Kenya is a signatory to and member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) – an affiliate of the World Bank. This guarantees investors against loss of investment due to political problems in host countries. The country is also a signatory to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes – a channel for settling disputes between foreign investors and governments.