Opportunities abound for investment in Kenya
2015-09-15 14:34:15 -

By Chinedu Onyejelem


Kenya’s ambassador to Ireland has said that his mission is strongly committed to those who wish to invest “back home”.


Ambassador Richard Opembe was speaking at the launch of Sacco Ireland, the local branch of Kenya’s Savings and Credit Co-operative, when he urged Kenyans in the diaspora and foreign investors alike “to think big and invest in major ongoing projects in Kenya.”


A first of its kind for Ireland, Sacco Ireland aims to provide opportunities for Kenyans living abroad to invest in a safe and secure manner in their home country.


Stressing that Kenya will welcome such investors with open arms, Ambassador Opembe said the country is also grateful for diaspora contributions received so far that have helped the “development of our country in general.”


As a result of that, he added, ‘diaspora diplomacy’ has been identified as a key area in the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade’s strategic plan, along with the establishment of “a fully fledged directorate to handle diaspora affairs and meet the needs of Kenyans living abroad.”


Remittances from Kenyans in the diaspora are increasingly significant to the Kenyan economy, the ambassador said. 


“In 2014, the Central Bank of Kenya statistics show that Kenyans in the diaspora remitted $1.5bn to their motherland, accounting for approximating three per cent of the country’s GDP.”


In response to this growing source of funds across the continent, member states of the African Union last year established the African Institute for Remittances (AIR) in Nairobi to both make remittances easier and cost-effective for Africans diaspora, as well as to encourage that the money is put to good use.


Ambassador Opembe stressed that investment opportunities abound in Kenya and that any investment made by Kenyans abroad is a “demonstration of our patriotism”. 


Current opportunities include the construction industry, which is “on an upward trend”, as is the real estate sector, while tourism continues to be a big earner, the “third largest contributor to the country’s GDP after agriculture and manufacturing”.


Further investments can be found in energy, ICT and in more niche sectors such as “solid waste management [and] modern state-of-the-art abattoirs”.


Others in attendance at the launch included Sacco Ireland founder and general secretary Catherine Mahoro and chairman Kuria Kaguta; Jon Chessoni of the Kenyan trade ministry; Michael Yohannes, Ethiopian Airlines country manager for Ireland; Jacques Real Estates chief Jacqueline Muray, Diaspora Matters CEO Kingsley Aikins and former Irish Trade Minister Joe Costello.

TAGS : Kenya Sacco Ireland Richard Opembe
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