Why Ruto will net investors in US visit

President William Ruto during the 59th Jamhuri Day celebrations at Nyayo National Stadium on December 12, 2022. [Kelly Ayodi, Standard]

President William Ruto’s engagements with investors during his upcoming US state visit will unlock crucial foreign investments.

According to Declan Galvin, the Managing Director at Exigent Risk Advisory, a company that offers market advice to US investors looking to expand their operations to Kenya.

“When Ruto goes to Atlanta, there will be talks and deals, and as an American business owner thinking about exploring markets and opportunities in Kenya, to see something like this is a major confidence boost,” said Declan during an interview on Spice FM.

According to Declan, Kenya is already favoured by American investors, and a one-on-one meeting with the president will further boost investor confidence.

He says that Kenya’s political stability, skilled human capital, and status as the region’s aviation hub solidify the country’s chances in the race for American foreign investments.

Declan adds that shifting policy positions has been a major worry for foreign investors, coupled with tax regimes that discourage business and “opaque and contradictory” regulations that startups face.

“Last year, and the year before, we got a lot of taxes that got snapped into place, and aggressive revenue targets…if we revise those rapidly as opposed to phasing them out, that creates a certain degree of uncertainty, and that’s a difficult thing for businesses,” he explained.

Despite the policy setback, Declan says that American companies looking to invest in Kenya are more excited about the digital economy, and the agriculture and export sectors that are in direct alignment with President Ruto’s priority areas.

Further, he argues that Kenya is more investment-ready compared to her peers in the continent and needs to brand itself as a moderate-risk investor destination to counter countries like Nigeria which attracts high-risk investors in its oil and gas industry.

An official invite from President Biden in February to President Ruto indicates that he will be hosted at the White House on May 23 to mark sixty years of Kenya – US diplomatic ties.