Doing Business in Kenya

Kenya’s central location in East Africa is attractive to investors from all over the world. Investing in this region means access to a market of over 135 million consumers, an abundant, well trained labour force which is mobile, skilled and enterprising. In recent years, the trade and investment relation between Kenya and its international partners has deepened.

Business Opportunities in Kenya – Vision 2030

The Kenya Vision 2030 blueprint recognises the crucial role of micro, small and medium business in industrial development and emphasises the development of industrial parks in five towns – Kisumu, Mombasa, Eldoret, Nakuru and Nairobi – to spur industrial growth. It also proposes the development of two special economic zones in Kisumu and Mombasa.

Assistance to Micro and Small Enterprises Programme [ASMEP] is a Republic of Kenya initiative anchored within the Ministry of Trade in support of the Micro and Small Enterprises [MSEs] in Kenya, through funding by the European Union [EU]. The Programme has a sub-component on Business Information Dissemination in support of Capacity Building of Trade Development Officers to upscale their skills on Business Development Services and Information and Communications Technology [ICT], to enable them to skillfully and efficiently offer Business Development Services and manage Business Information Centres [BICs] at the District Trade Offices.

Economic Environment

Kenya is the largest and most advanced economy in East and Central Africa, with strong growth prospects supported by an emerging–urban middle class, pro-growth macroeconomic policies and an educated and skilled workforce.

Private sector-led economic growth has since in the early 2000s been Kenya’s priority. The Government’s business-friendly stance has rolled over into Vision 2030, which sets development benchmarks for a number of priority sectors. This has been complemented by the integration of the EAC and the establishment in 2005 of a customs union an a common market (2010).

Kenya is a member of COMESA with 19 countries and 14 of which are in a Free Trade Area (FTA). Three regional economic blocks i.e. EAC, COMESA and SADC with a combined population of over 600 million people are currently developing a joint framework and roadmap towards a Free Trade Area by 2015.

It has a Growth Domestic Product (GDP) of $53.3 billion giving GDP per capita of $1,246. In 2014, the economic growth rate was estimated to be 5.3% with prospects looking up due to extensive economic reforms. The main sectors contributing to economic growth are building and construction, infrastructure development, manufacturing, transport and services, and tourism particularly from emerging markets; agriculture, and wholesale and retail. Recent discovery of oil promises and improvement in infrastructure provide avenues for growth in the future.

A survey by Ernest and Young for Africa in 2014, placed Kenya among the top three popular investment destinations in sub-sahara Africa, and the most preferred in East and Central Africa.

Bloomberg, an international publication recently singled out Kenya as one of the seven outstanding emerging markets worth investing in ranking it as the 3rd fastest growing economy behind China and Philippines.