Kenya International Investment Conference officially opens

ruto-kandieBy Claire Wanja

Deputy President William Ruto Monday officially inaugurated the Kenya International Investment Conference (KIICO) 2015, as hundreds of high-level delegates gathered for the three-day conference and the launch of The Report: Kenya 2016, published by Oxford Business Group (OBG).

Under the theme, “Think Investment, Make it Kenya”, KIICO 2015 delegates heard from leading public and private sector speakers after the Deputy President officially revealed key findings of OBG’s The Report: Kenya 2016 report during the conference’s official opening ceremony.

Leading the opening panel as guest speaker, the Deputy President joined prominent panelists and speakers including Hon.Phyllis Kandie, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry East Africa Affairs Commerce & Tourism and H.E. Peter Munya Chairman, Council of Governors, to examine why top investors see Kenya as a leading investment hub and why it is the right time to invest.

According to OBG’s report, Kenya’s economic outlook for the years ahead looks robust, despite recent challenges such as a trade deficit and rising debt. Following 2014’s GDP rebasing, the country is now East Africa’s largest economy and boasts a prominent profile in the East African Community (EAC).

According to official forecasts, Kenya is set to outperform key economic indicators, with GDP growth expected to be around 6.5 – 7 percent in 2015 and to continue at a similar level for the coming years.  Reforms to the country’s business environment, recent resource finds, greater regional integration, devolution and the impact of the 2014 rebasing exercise are amongst the key topics attributing to Kenya’s growth momentum, according to The Report: Kenya 2016.

Touching on the OBG report findings, Phyllis Kandie, Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of East African Affairs Commerce & Tourism, said: “As a nation, we are focused on evolving our business environment to match the speed and scale of global investor interest, as more firms cast their gaze to Kenya for growth.  Kenya’s robust economic fundamentals and the enactment of strategic reforms to facilitate global investment have positioned Kenya on a path to maintaining its lead as a model investment destination, and now, East Africa’s largest economy.”

Dr. Moses Ikiara, Managing Director, Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest), said: “The findings of The Report: Kenya 2016, cement our nation’s reputation as a frontier economy with a lot to offer potential investors. The sustained growth exhibited across a variety of sectors showcase a wealth of investment opportunities for local and international investors. OBG launching their latest report at KIICO for the second year running, is a sign of the conference’s strong standing and ability to attract government and business leaders from the region and beyond.”

Speaking from the conference, British investor Louise Labuschagne, founder of Real IPM – a company which produces beneficial insects and microbes to boost productivity within Kenya’s growing agriculture sector, said: “My husband and I sold everything we owned and moved to Kenya ten years ago. We have invested not just our money, but our entire lives and we have benefited greatly from the technical expertise and hard work of Kenyans. My advise to other investors would be to come and don’t think twice.”

The Ministry of East African Affairs, Commerce & Tourism, through KenInvest, is hosting the second Kenya International Investment Conference (KIICO) 2015 on 23-25 November 2015 at the Kenyatta International Convention Center (KICC) in Nairobi.

The conference is hosted in partnership with US AID East African Trade and Investment Hub funded by the US Agency for International Development (the Hub); International Finance Corporation; Oxford Business Group; Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA); Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and Kenya Vision 2030. Key sponsors include the Hub, Visa Card, TransCentury, Kenya Airways and Sarova Hotels. The event brings together business leaders, local and international investors, and entrepreneurs to share, discuss and bolster investment opportunities in Kenya.