Several major corporations in Japan are investing in Kenya? Senior executives from major Japanese companies have openly expressed interest in investing in various projects being carefully rolled out by the Kenyan government. This news comes as no surprise considering the fact that Kenya is emerging as a major East African hub for business. Not only will Kenyan investment to provide jobs for locals, but it will also stimulate the economy and help lift the economy out of a recession.
Kenya has several attractive projects worth billions of dollars that foreign companies could invest in. These include, the huge Manara minerals project located in the north of the country, which is estimated to yield between forty million and sixty million dollars over the next five years. Another huge project being constructed in Kenya is the $4.5 billion Unity Bank project, which will generate over one hundred thousand jobs. Then there is the $2.8 billion collage project that is being constructed in the southwest part of the country by Shell. Several other large projects are underway or in the planning stages in Kenya. One of the biggest, however, is the proposed Grand Trunk Road, which will link Mombasa to Nairobi in fifteen miles.
The governments of both Kenya and Uganda are eager to attract foreign investors to these projects. The hope is that the private sector will step into the shoes once the world’s largest hydroelectric power station comes to be operational in Mombasa. The proposed Grand Trunk Road has the support of almost all of the countries surrounding it, and the cost estimates for its completion are staggering. When large multinationals such as Shell, Enron and other firms decide to invest in Africa, they do so not just to feed their own businesses but because it can benefit all of humanity.
The Kenyan government welcomes foreign investment, especially in infrastructure. Because it has taken years to develop the country’s transport system, some wonder if the private sector will invest before the governments do. The answer could be yes and then why wait? Companies such as Volvo, which plans to build a massive factory in Mombasa, have already announced that they will invest millions in the project, and other large companies such as Apple, Microsoft, and Ford have bigger investments in mind, too.
What about American companies? Well, General Electric and Caterpillar have large operations in Kenya. Both of them have expansion plans in Mombasa, and Caterpillar is even hinting that it may bring additional factories to the country. Last year, the United States welcomed more foreign direct investment in South Africa following the announcement of the building of the Union Carbide plant. So, why not do the same thing in Kenya?
Even if the governments can do nothing to support the growth of the private sector, they can certainly facilitate the process of firms deciding to invest in African countries. The World Bank and the United States Agency for International Development are doing their best to support the development of the economy through projects like this one. If these projects succeed, not only will the economy flourish but so will the governments that depend on the revenue that the economy brings. This means good news for all concerned.