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Kenya eyes Sh160b investments this year

CARTOON
By | March 5th 2011

NAIROBI, Friday

Kenya attracted Sh52 billion in foreign and domestic investments in the first half of this fiscal year, and it targets Sh160 billion for the period, its investment authority has said.

East Africa’s biggest economy received investments totalling Sh156 billion in the 2009/10 fiscal year (July-June) from Sh164 billion in the previous period.

"I believe with the investment environment improving, we are going to get the target of Sh160 (billion)," said Susan Kikwai, the managing director of Kenya Investment Authority.

Optimism rose sharply last year after a new Constitution, which is expected to help improve governance and reduce risk of upheavals, was enacted last August.

Investment advise

"We are taking time to visit investors in Kenya and telling them, ‘please put in more money, expand," Kikwai said.

But a row in the grand coalition government over nominations to top judicial posts last month have tempered the investment outlook, with business people saying the political wrangling could affect the investment climate.

Investment fell nearly five per cent in the last fiscal year as investors, repulsed by violent clashes in early 2008 that followed a disputed presidential election, delayed decisions.

"We had post-election violence so many people held back. Ideally, it takes 18 months to two years for an investor to implement their project," Kikwai told reporters at an investment conference.

Kikwai said Kenya needed Sh200 billion invested each year for the economy to expand by 10 per cent, an annual growth rate that could turn the country into a middle-income country by 2030.

Rail project

The Government plans to issue a bond for a commuter rail in the capital, she said.

"We are still going to raise a bond of about $200 million for the commuter rail project. We are packaging that to also get external investors ... for people who can come and do the rolling stock because government is investing on the railway itself."

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