Kenya to See An Increase in American Investments; But Corruption, Unfavourable Tax Policies Persist

By  |  October 17, 2019

More American firms are set to seek investment opportunities in Kenya after deals worth USD 100 Mn were signed last year through the American Chamber of Commerce Kenya, CEO Maxwell Okello has said.

Since last year, companies such as Cigna a health services organization, Abbott Laboratories have set up their offices in the country.

“Similarly, Corteva a major American agricultural chemical and seed company and the American Tower Corporation (ATC) have set up regional offices in Kenya. The acquisition of 723 towers from Telkom by ATC and another planned acquisition in the pipeline will make ATC Kenya the biggest private tower operator apart from Safaricom,” Okello pointed out.

Emerging Capital Partners (ECP), an American investment company has invested USD 34 Mn to acquire a majority stake in Kenyan hospitality outlet, ArtCaffe.

“All these five multinationals entered the Kenyan market in the last 12 months,” he added.

“Even more U.S. companies are looking to enter Kenya. Currently, Alternet Systems (ALYI) are planning to build Africa’s first electrical motorcycle plant under the ReVolt brand in Kenya. The deal, currently at industrial plant approval stage, when approved, will set the stage for the plant to assemble motorcycles in Kenya for sale across Africa,” a statement from AmCham said.

This year, AmCham Kenya seeks to interest investors in the health, agriculture and technology sectors in the country.

However, Chris De Angelis, the Deputy Economic Counselor at the U.S Embassy in Nairobi, said that tax policies and corruption are concerns in doing business in Kenya.

“Economic prosperity for all Kenyans is not possible without eliminating the scourge of corruption. The Government of Kenya estimates that the cost of corruption could cover 100 per cent of the cost of the Big Four,” De Angelis said.

He added, “On taxation, there needs to be a certain amount of taxation to help in the development of the country. But it is also important to include the business sector when making these kinds of decisions on what kind of taxes to put into place.”

Although De Angelis did not allude to any tax policies in Kenya, the country has seen companies shut down, more recently betting firms – BetIn and Sportspesa, due to tax policies put in place.

Feature Image Caption: From left, Deputy Economic Counsellor, U.S Embassy, Nairobi, Chris De Angelis, Public Affairs & Government Relations Leader at Coca-Cola, Emily Waita Macharia, and C.E.O. AMCHAM Kenya, Maxwell Okello.

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