To boost the inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Kenya is considering offering citizenship to wealthy investors with legitimate businesses in the country.
On Wednesday, November 6, Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest), the country’s investment promotion agency, revealed that plans are being hatched with respect to giving citizenship to wealthy investors in a new push to promote FDI inflows.
The Managing Director of KeInvest, Moses Ikiara, said the agency held “positive discussions” with Interior Secretary, Fred Matiang’i. In the meeting, a framework was developed to ensure the vetting is watertight and free from abuse.
If somebody has created impact and you can see the jobs created why don’t we extend an incentive to them and say we invite to be our citizen in three, two years,” Ikiara said.
“Giving incentives to those people with a lot of money could be among the non-monetary incentives.”
Although the move has come under criticism from stakeholders and locals, KeInvest is standing by its new plan, maintaining that the move to gift such investors with a permanent residence status after vetting, is not so different from the Green Card issued by countries like the United States.
Per the provisions of the new plan, high net-worth investors, whose enterprises are found to have a high impact on new jobs and export earnings, will be allowed to automatically apply for citizenship, under the new proposals.
At present, Kenya’s Immigration laws require a foreigner to continuously live in the country for at least seven years to qualify for citizenship by registration.
The new framework also provides that investors are offered conditional incentives tailored at the unique needs of their respective sectors, including land banks in partnership with the county governments.
“This is the key document that contains the policy that brings certainty and stability in terms of investment environment,” Business Daily reported Industry and Trade Secretary, Peter Munya, as saying.
The citizenship-for-high-net-worth-investors proposal is part of the interventions in Kenya’s first-ever investment policy, unveiled on Wednesday, though it had been undergoing formulation since 2014.
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