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Why Kenya

MMB Advocates > Why Kenya

Why Kenya Remains Best  Destination For Foreign Investment


Attention investors the world over. Disillusioned with the Republic of South Africa regarding your fear for your foreign workforce? Disturbed by slow political responses to citizens’ issues? Might you examine a noble proposition: INVEST IN KENYA.

Relocating to a new country fills someone with the excitement of new possibilities as well as fears of acceptance, bureaucracy, and safety.

A lovely diverse country with a resilient people, South Africa earns more from its business interests abroad than from foreign businesses repatriating funds.

However, large swaths of citizens still blame foreigners instead of thanking them. While various perplexing paradoxes exist in every nation, Kenya does not juxtapose its citizens against foreigners.

Kenyans widely know our export prowess in the East Africa region and enjoy the gains brought by our relative geographic hegemony.

Avid travellers know our decades-long pro-foreigner stance politically, commercially, and personally. Kenyans would rather learn best practices from foreigners, benefit from their investment, utilise their connections, Kenyanise them, and turn them into missionaries promoting brand Kenya around the globe.

A Kenyan is more likely to feel pride that a foreigner chooses our nation as a home rather than to feel disdain at their presence.

Apart from the high profile attacks by a few terrorist elements, Kenya grows arguably safer each year. Kenya can promise a swifter police response to disturbances, quick political attention to outbursts, and an outpouring of citizen support during and after crises.

Kenya boasts one of the fastest growing GDPs, highest financial securities returns, and best real estate markets in the world.

We hold a vibrant civil society, a global hub for best practices in accounting, debatably the most innovative tech sector in the developing world, and an exceptionally educated populace.

Like South Africa, our arts and media space grows with increasing quality. Our artists, poets, singers, and painters thrive and represent a real meaningful venue for those who challenge the status quo.

Apart from South Africa’s very own Trevor Noah, Kenyans would argue that we have the wittiest comedians, the uncanny ability to laugh out ourselves without offence, and the best sense of humour anywhere bar none.

In Kenya we laugh all day and still get our work done with high productivity rates.

Kenya offers comparatively low capital gain taxes, market friendly generally pro-competition capitalist policies, and allows foreign investment in securities and land with only nominal yet reasonable protections to aid native Kenyans.

Sure we struggle with major issues of tribal bias, systemic corruption, and insecurity from unstable neighbour states. Foreigners do report a dramatic increase in harassment during work permit applications.

However, one must realise that when a system tightens from previously dishing out permits too loosely, growing pains are bound to exist and a pendulum typically swings too far to the opposite side before landing somewhere more reasonably in the middle with a sensible approach.

If investors desire residency along with investment, Kenya stands to improve with some of the most restrictive investor rules.

While new practices dictate a Sh50 million investment gets someone a two-year residency permit, meanwhile a Sh46 million equivalent investment in the US, much of the European Union, and Canada gets an investor permanent residency fast tracked for actual citizenship.

What does a nation gain from liberal immigration policies for skilled labourers? A nation like South Africa or Kenya gains from better links to the global economy.

A foreign worker typically retains his or her ties with home nations. Such linkages help in exchanges, new investment money, and new customer bases.

Kenyan workers get to learn best practices from around the world while the foreign workers learn Kenyan best practices to transplant back home to strengthen bonds.

Pro-foreigner policies enable Kenya to receive over Sh303 billion in foreign official development assistance annually, the equivalent of 26 per cent of all Government of Kenya revenues.

A further Sh48 billion comes from foreign investors in large part to Kenya’s pro-foreigner policies.

Such favourable Kenyan strategies make Nairobi the go-to destination for regional or continental hubs for nearly every global business and NGO, much to the chagrin of Dar es Salaam, Kigali, Addis Ababa, Juba, Bujumbura, and Kampala.

Investors and donors feel comfortable if their own citizens accustomed to certain practices and standards can represent even just a fraction of the workforce.

If an investor, however, desires the majority of its workforce in Kenya to comprise its own citizens, then Kenya only negligibly benefits and sensible government action should and does step in to stop such scenarios.

Kenya should avoid the passive aggressive American methodology in dealing with immigration with different official versus unofficial policies compared to actual practices on skilled and unskilled foreign workers.

America famously employed a reactionary policy by President George W Bush following the 2001 attacks. A clamp down on foreign skilled labourers damaged Silicon Valley and other high technology-dependent hubs.

Even in a typical cutting-edge United States medical research laboratory, such as the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, retains more than 50 nationalities on its team to engage with the best and brightest among all humankind.

In Kenya, we have always embraced such a philosophy. While nearly 100,000 Kenyans live in the United States, roughly 10,000 Americans choose Kenya as their home.

Diversity makes us better. We have learned so much from the Rainbow Nation. But investors consider Kenya because now is the time to invest here. Come build our nation. We will respect you. We ask for respect and partnership in return.

Come boost our rapidly growing and highly educated middle class while enjoying our superb eateries, hotels, culture, and estates.



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From Frontier To Emerging Market Kenya’s Economic Rise


Imagine vast and beautiful savannah grasslands as two million wildebeest migrate from the Serengeti National Park in the Mara region of Tanzania to the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. This trip is 3,000km in length, and represents, in many ways, the very best of what Africa has to offer the international community. But is this all Kenya puts on the plate? The answer is a definitive “no”. Kenya is moving from a frontier market to an emerging market, and is beginning to attract investment from all over the world.

The future of Kenya’s business environment is looking increasingly bright as the national economy continues to grow at an enviable pace.

The future of Kenya’s business environment is looking increasingly bright as the national economy continues to grow at an enviable pace.

The future of Kenya’s business environment is looking increasingly bright as the national economy continues to grow at an enviable pace. Although Kenya has had its fair share of political unrest since independence from Britain in 1963, including the Daniel arap Moi era, Nairobi has steadily cemented its place as a hub of commercial activity ahead of any competitor in East and Central Africa. Indeed, it is a veritable gateway to the entire region.

Moreover, Kenya is now considered to be the ninth largest economy on the continent, and with a growth of between 5% and 6% predicted for 2015, its place among the African emerging markets will soon be indubitable. Major contributors to the gross domestic product include agricultural produce, horticulture, and the services industry. The Kenyan highlands are one of the most agriculturally productive regions in Africa, and agriculture alone accounts for about 75% of all employment in the country. This level of employment is very high compared to food secure nations, but tea is a major export and funds about 20% of the GDP. Cut flowers are exported to Europe and form another major export item. Lastly, from the produce side of things, is coffee exports.

The service industry is vital and very active, and contributes a massive 60% to the total GDP. With a list of national parks that include the Maasai Mara, East Tsavo, West Tsavo, Lake Nakuru, and the Aberdares National Park, it is easy to see why tourism plays a central role in the national economy. Tourism is also boosted by the fact that Kenya is a melting pot of differing cultures, and has an extraordinary history of human settlement dating back to pre-historic times. Today, the country is home to people of Bantu, Nilotic, Indian and European descent, and each culture contributes to the nation’s contemporary character.

Kenya is also part of the East African Community, along with Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda. The community is aimed at developing the economy of the entire region, and encourages trade and economic exchange amongst its members. The world’s youngest state, South Sudan, is also set to become part of the community in the near future. Some observers believe that the economic community may one day become a federal state with a single currency.

On an enormously positive note, Kenya is innovating some of the most affordable and popular mobile phone payment systems in the world. M-Pesa, the brainchild of Safaricom, is utilised by over 17 million Kenyan adults, about 75% of the adult population. M-Pesa can be used from anything from sending money back home to paying for taxi fares. Impressive? Moreover, The Economist has called M-Pesa the “most successful scheme of its type on earth”.

In terms of further technological development is the incredible high-speed Internet that Kenya enjoys. Due to the EASSy undersea cable that services East Africa, access to the Internet in Kenya has greatly improved over the past few years. Faster net speed leaves the door open for a plethora of e-commerce companies to open their doors for business. The opportunities are endless.

On a sadder note, and despite all the positive signs so prevalent in the region, there is one weakness that undermines Kenya’s success: high levels of poverty. Poverty currently plagues the African continent, and Kenya hasn’t been able to eradicate it within its national boundaries, as yet. Portends for financial well-being are, despite the above fact, very evident in every aspect of financial life, and continue to become more visible as the country moves from strength to strength.

The good, however, overwhelms the bad, and it is without doubt that Kenya’s reputation concerning the breathtaking beauty of its plains, animal life and flora landscape is soon to be eclipsed by its reputation as a vibrant, growing and innovative economy. In a world where natural resources are often sacrificed to economic prosperity, Kenya stands out as a country that is balancing the relationship between the two. To sum up in short, it would seem that the world is watching the rise of this East African soon-to-be powerhouse, and that its offerings are definitely something to behold.

By David Sand is the founder and CEO of Uwin Iwin

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