Kenyatta Signs Sh227 Billion Deals During First UK-Africa Investment Summit

22 January 2020

President Uhuru Kenyatta signed trade pacts valued at Sh227 billion when he took part in the UK-Africa Investment Summit that ended Wednesday.

EXPLORATION

Kenya is one of the 16 African states that took part in the meeting and looks forward to benefiting from deals valued at more than Sh8.6 trillion.

Deals with Kenya include Sh158 billion by British oil firm, Tullow, which will continue exploration in Kenya.

Another firm, Globeleq, will invest Sh6.6 billion in the country. Globeleq seeks to help build the Malindi photovoltaic solar park.

Kefi Minerals will invest Sh29.5 billion in a new gold mine and developing local infrastructure.

Another deal announced at the summit is a Sh3.9 billion investment in affordable energy-efficient housing. State officials say it will involve putting up 10,000 low-carbon homes for rent and sale.

Diageo will build a Sh21.9 billion environmentally-friendly brewer in Kenya to serve the country and East and Central Africa.

GLOBAL MARKETS

"Diageo invested Sh15.76 billion into East Africa Breweries Ltd, Kisumu in 2017," the UK embassy in Nairobi said in a statement.

"This investment supports more than 100,000 direct and indirect jobs, including recruiting 15,000 new farmers. It takes the total number of farmers employed in the Kenyan supply chain to 45,000."

Kenya will also be among the beneficiaries of a Sh461.4 million fund meant to empower women economically.

The kitty will extend DFID's SheTrades Commonwealth work.

SheTrades is a programme of the International Trade Centre, an agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation.

"Women in Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana will have greater access to business and trade opportunities in global markets with support from the UK," it was announced at the summit.

GENDER-INCLUSIVE

"The aid boost to the programme will create up to 3,000 jobs in female-run businesses."

Through the programme, the UK will work with the three countries to develop tailored gender-inclusive business policies, the forum was informed.

The deals made public are on top of a Sh7 billion investment at the port in Mombasa, which UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson described as "a serious, commercially minded development".

"But rather than being arranged on extraordinarily one-sided terms and delivered by a vast imported workforce, without wishing to cast aspersions on any other potential partner, it was a sustainable deal that created jobs for ordinary Kenyans," the British PM told the gathering.

BOASTS EXPERTISE

While recognising that China, Russia, France, Germany and several other countries have intensified efforts in looking for business opportunities on the continent, Mr Johnson used an African proverb in making his case for leaders at the summit.

"I'm told there will be a conference in France soon. But in the words of an Akan proverb, I picked up while I was in Ghana, 'All fingers are not the same.' There is wisdom in these proverbs. All countries are not the same. The UK boasts a breadth and depth of expertise that cannot be matched by any other nation," he said.

Africa is home to more than half the world's fastest growing economies. Two thirds of African economies are growing faster than the global average, the World Bank and the IMF say.

"We want to build a new future as an international free trading nation. That is what we are doing now and that's what we will be embarking on, on January 31," Mr Johnson said, referring to the day the country leaves the European Union.

LARGEST INVESTORS

Britain is still one of the largest foreign investors in Kenya, with bilateral trade totalling Sh173 billion.

More than 60 UK companies operate in Kenya, including Barclays Bank, Diageo, British Airways and BAT.

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