British High Commissioner to Kenya Nic Hailey said his country was scouting the region for new business opportunities.
“British companies are huge in this economy, several hundred having been here for decades. We are undoubtedly the largest investors. In fact seven of the top 10 tax-paying companies in Kenya are British firms offering jobs for one in 10 Kenyans."
Hailey said this when he toured the Sh15 billion East African Breweries Limited Kisumu factory. He said the investors were leveraging on the rising business confidence and political stability in the country to channel more investments into the region.
“Now that the election is over and the politics is moving on and growth is returning to the economy, there is a lot of excitement about new companies coming in and established companies like Kenya Breweries doubling their investments to expand and create new jobs, so it is a great time for British investors to come to Kenya,” Hailey said.
The envoy, who was touring British projects in western Kenya in the company of the head of the British Chamber of Commerce, whom he said “represents hundreds of British companies and he will be taking the message back about the opportunities in Kisumu and across Kenya and hopefully that will attract many more projects in the future.”
He said Kenya had improved in ease of doing business from the 130s to number 80 globally and that this was a good signal that it was ripe for bigger investments.
The expansion of the brewery owned by EABL, a British firm, he said, was one of the projects the company was betting on to create jobs and grow the economy in the region. Easily the region’s single largest corporate investment in decades, the ultra-modern brewery is expected to create over 100,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Hailey said the brewery’s potential to provide 15,000 farmers with a market for sorghum would boost region’s agriculture.
“I was meeting earlier today with the governor, the county assembly, and many others in Kisumu and I think it was clear that the number one thing that people want in this region is for investors to come in and create jobs for young people,” said Hailey.