Many trade and investment opportunities exist today in Kenya, especially in the agriculture, manufacturing and mining industries, as outlined below.
Tourism is one of Kenya’s leading foreign exchange earner and third largest contributor to the GDP after agriculture and manufacturing. The sector has been growing fast as a result of various factors such as liberalization, persification of tourist markets and continued Government support and commitment to providing an enabling environment, coupled with successful tourism promotion and political stability.
Information & Communications Technology
The size of the local ICT market is estimated at US$ 500 million and it is of note that companies such as Spanco, followed Airtel into Kenya to continue servicing them. These companies are expected to expand into the region , given Kenya’s its relative sophistication compared to neighbouring markets, and in order to service clients’ expansion plans into the EAC and beyond.
Energy & infrastructure
There are investment opportunities in oil and LPG supply and distribution, and in the country’s rural electrification and water supply programmes. Furthermore, there is huge demand for investment in infrastructure of all kinds, in view of the country’s Vision 2030 economic blueprint programme.
Banking & Finance
Kenya’s financial sector is the largest in the East and Central African region, and it envisions to have a vibrant and globally competitive financial industry that will not only create jobs but also to promote high levels of saving to finance overall investment needs.
Kenyan finacial sector comprises of Banking, Insurance, Capital markets, Pension Schemes and Quasi-banking institutions such as: Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOs); Microfinance Institutions (MFIs); Building Societies, Kenya Post Office Savings Bank (KPOSB); Development Finance Institutions; (DFIs) and informal financial services such as Rotating Savings and Credit Associations (ROSCAs). Financial intermidiation in Kenya has continued to recorded high growth rates due to increased lending as reflected by the rise in domestic credit backed by significant financial innovation.
Kenya is a sporting nation and renown for prowess in athletics. There is great potential to invest in athletics through setting up centres for training. Investors can help nurture sporting talent from the grassroots level, while also contributing to the development of sporting facilities such as golf courses, car and horse racing etc.
Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, providing livelihood to approximately 75 % of population. The agricultural sector currently contributes approximately 24% of Gross Domestic Product, generates 60% of the total foreign exchange earnings and provides direct employment to over 311,000 people. The sector has strongly forward and backward linkages providing most of the basic raw material and inputs to local agro-industries.
The major agricultural activities in Kenya are crop production, horticulture, dairy and livestock farming. The principle food crops produced include maize, wheat, beans, potatoes and rice, while major cash crops are coffee, tea, sugarcane, sisal, and pyrethrum. There exists potential in cotton production.
Opportunities exist in production and export of products such as cut flowers, French beans, pineapples, mushrooms, asparagus, mangoes, macadamia nuts, avocados, passion fruits, melons, and carrots. Support services include cold storage facilities and refrigerators for horticultural and other perishable products, seed production, construction of dams and bore holes,and installation of irrigation systems.
Australian imports from Kenya comprise mainly of fish and related products, and there is room for growth in this area considering the vast fishing potential of the Indian Ocean and Lake Victoria. At present, deep sea fishing, prawn and trout farming are in their infancy but growing rapidly. Opportunity also exists in fish processing (filleting and fish meal production), as well as fisheries-support infrastructure (refrigerated transport, cold storage, etc.
Numerous investment opportunities exist in this sector. Edible and other oils produced locally include butter, ghee and margarine as well as sunflower, rapeseed, cottonseed, seamen, coconut and corn oil, while a large quantity of palm oil is imported. Investments to develop substitutes for palm oil imports are welcome.
Other opportunities include coffee roasting and grinding, with a further potential such as in the production of decaffeinated coffee for export,manufacture of sprayers and pesticides, and the production and processing of sugar, tea, meat and dairy products.
Hatcheries for the production of chicken for both domestic and regional consumption are under-exploited.
Leather and Leather Goods
Most hides and skins are processed up to the wet blue stage for export while investment opportunities exist in production of finished leather, offering potential for the manufacture of shoes and other leather products.
Kenya’s manufacturing sector plays an important role in adding value to agricultural output and providing forward and backward linkages, hence accelerating overall growth. The sector now comprises of over 700 established enterprises and directly employs over 200 000 Kenyans. A wide range of opportunities for direct and joint-venture investments exist in the manufacturing sector, including agro-processing, manufacture of garments, assembly of automotive components and electronics, paper, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, metal and engineering products for both domestic and export markets.
Kenya has an integrated pulp paper mill plant and paperboard from renewable forest products. However, the country imports coated white lined chipboard and other boards for packaging, newsprint, printed-paper and other type of paper. Investment opportunities exist in the production of paper from other raw material such as bagasse, sisal waste, straw and waste paper.
Textiles and Apparels
Textile, Garment and Apparel manufacturing has a very high potential in Kenya. Sufficient, experienced, productive and inexpensive Labour is locally available, in addition, a well-developed infrastructure, dependable air and sea transport links and support services required by the textile manufactures are already in place to enhance the development of the industry.
Vehicle Parts and Assembly
The motor vehicle component industry is rapidly developing to supply the needs of a few motor vehicle assemblers to meet certain local content requirements. The plants assemble passenger cars commercial vehicles. Kenya has over 20,000 new registrations annually. Products such as tires, tubes, batteries, springs, radiators, brakes pads, cables, rubber components and filters are now produced locally. A number of firms fabricate bodies for commercial vehicles. A small-scale bicycle assembly venture and a large ship repair operation exist as well. Opportunities exists for manufacture of components for use by local assemblers for domestic market and for export to regional markets.
Investment potential exist for the production of motors, circuit breakers, transformers, switch gears, irrigation pumps, capacitors, insulation tapes, electrical fittings and integrated circuits for both the domestic and export markets.
Plastics, Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals
A large number of pharmaceutical formulations are produced locally in the form of tablets, syrups, capsules, and injectables, but the bulk of pharmaceuticals is imported. There is room for additional investment in the pharmaceutical industry.
Many attractive investment opportunities in chemicals, pharmaceuticals and fertilizers remain unexploited. These include the production of PVC granules from ethyl alcohol; formaldehyde from methanol; melamine and urea; mixing and granulating of fertilizers; cuprous ox chloride for coffee bean disease; caustic soda and chlorine based products; carbon black; activated carbon; precipitated calcium carbonate; textile dyestuff; ink for ball-point pens; and galantine capsules.
Mining and Mineral Products
Kenya has well-developed cement processing plants that satisfy the domestic market and exports to the regional market. Approximately 1.2 million tones of cement are consumed locally each year. The Kenya Mining Industry is dominated by production of non-metallic minerals which are mainly: – soda ash (trona), flourspar, diatomite, vermiculite, natural carbon dioxide, kaolin, barytes, a variety of gemstones, limestone and lime products including various construction materials. In the case of metallic minerals, some quantities of gold are being produced. Iron ore is produced from localised small deposit and is utilised in the manufacture of cement in the country.
Opportunities exist in the production of glass, as the country is not self-sufficient. A few manufacturing units produce ceramic pottery and tiles, however, substantial quantities of ceramic pottery, tiles, sanitary-ware, and insulators are imported. Investment potential exists in prospecting and mining of other minerals such as gold, precious stones and petroleum.
Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock & Fisheries– www.kilimo.go.ke
Coffee Board of Kenya- www.coffeeboardkenya.co.ke
Horticultural Crops Development Authority (HCDA)– www.hcda.or.ke
Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA)– www.ktdateas.com
Kenya Flower Council (KFC)- www.kenyaflowercouncil.org
Pyrethrum Board of Kenya- www.kenya-pyrethrum.com
Kenya Coconut Development Authority (KCDA)– www.kcda.go.ke
Kenya Coast Development Project (KCDP)– www.kcdp.co.ke
Kenya Nut Company- www.kenyanut.com
Kenya Livestock Marketing Council (KLMC)–www.livestockcouncil.or.ke
Kenya Leather Development Council (KLDC)– www.leathercouncil.go.ke