UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit has renewed old age ties, clearing the way for multi-billion-shilling investments in Kenya.
Twenty UK companies committed to raise their investments across the country to generate at least 2,250 direct and high value jobs, and more than 100,000 additional jobs in the wider economy.
These investments will be aligned with the priority areas outlined under President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda.
For instance, the two agreed on the construction of the first oncology hospital in Nairobi by NMS Infrastructure and welcomed the expansion plans by Mobius Motors, the first company that designs and builds cars in Kenya.
“This collective announcement is a demonstration of confidence in the Kenyan market, and a sign of serious intent for Britain to continue its position as Kenya’s primary investment partner,” said British Trade Minister George Hollingbery. “The British business delegation is telling me first-hand that there is a massive appetite from our companies to invest in Kenya.”
British family-owned manufacturing company, Alvan Blanch, will set up two fruit processing plants worth Sh65 million. Each will provide world class machinery to fruit processing plants and help Kenyan mango farmers extract every last drop of value from their mangoes.
“It will act as an important contributor to Kenya’s aim to move further up the agricultural value chain, increasing manufacturing jobs, and contributing to the Food Security pillar of the President’s Big 4,” said the minister.
Finlays, based in Kericho County, will invest Sh8.5 million over the next five years and plans to employ around 11,500 people, and is a major supplier of tea into global markets. Unilever reaffirms its commitment to Kenya with Sh6.7 billion new investment in their tea and manufacturing sites.
British owned tea factories have recently been dragged into conversations of land ownership and expiry of leases on which these multi-billion tea factories sit on.
This builds on historical investment of about Sh14 billion in the past six years.
The investment will be in tea, factory expansion, social investment, replanting, new technology, and consumer divisions.
Other companies such as De La Rue, the maker of Kenya’s bank notes, has announced it will increase its investment. The company’s existing operations contribute Sh1.2 billion to the economy per year and employ 300 Kenyans directly, with indirect jobs estimated at 3,000 in the supply chain.
FortiTwo Energy, a British company which is a world leader in energy and lighting, is expected to close investment imminently on a revolutionary renewable (solar/wind) generated energy storage battery factory based in Mombasa.
This is their first African operation and is a show of confidence in Kenya as a base for manufacturing.
The UK is already the largest investor in Kenya with 250 British businesses operating in the country. They include some of Kenya’s largest employers and household names.
May used her first visit to set the stage for an Africa Investment Summit to be held in the UK next year.
The visit came at a time when the UK is redefining its role in global politics while counting down to its exit from the European Union next year.