Kenya ranks among the leading Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) destinations in Africa, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Secretary General Mukhisa Kituyi has said.
Dr Kituyi said Nigeria and Ethiopia complete the list of the most attractive investments destinations for foreign capital on the continent.
Launching the World Investment Report 2014 in Nairobi, Dr Kituyi lauded the increasing FDI movement among African States. "Kenya remains the single most highest Foreign Direct Investor in Uganda and second in Tanzania, said Dr Kituyi. The report indicates that in East Africa, FDI flows surged by 15 per cent to $6.2 billion (Sh540 billion), driven by rising flows to Kenya and Ethiopia. Kenya is developing as the favoured business hub, not only for oil and gas exploration in the sub-region but also for industrial production and transport. FDI inflows to Africa rose by four per cent to $57 billion (Sh5.002 trillion, driven by international and regional market seeking flows and infrastructure investments.
The report notes that intra-regional investments are increasingly led by South African, Kenyan and Nigerian companies.They include the Dangote and Simba Groups of Nigeria which are active in the cement, agriculture and oil-refining industries. Others are Orascom (Egypt) that is active in the building materials and chemicals industries - investing in North African countries while Sameer Group of Kenya is involved in industries that include agriculture, manufacturing, distribution, high-tech, construction, transport and finance.
The Comcraft Group, also from Kenya, is active in the services sector and is extending its footprint beyond the continent into Asian markets. Ethiopia's industrial strategy is attracting Asian capitals to develop its manufacturing base. In 2013, Huanjin Group of China opened its first factory for shoe production, with a view to establishing a $2 billion (Sh176 billion) hub for light manufacturing.
Early in the year, Julphar from United Arab Emirates, in conjunction with its local partner, Medtech, officially inaugurated its first pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Addis Ababa. According to the report, Uganda, Tanzania and Madagascar maintained relatively high inward flows, thanks to the development of their gas and mineral sectors. FDI flows to Southern Africa almost doubled last year, jumping to $13.2 billion from $6.7 billion in 2012, mainly owing to record-high flows to South Africa and Mozambique. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon described the report as valuable.
Kituyi urged African governments to insist on globally accepted standards when it comes to signing deals with FDIs so as to cushion local communities from exploitation.