Five American multinationals pitch tent in Kenya

Five American multinational corporations have set up regional offices in Nairobi, increasing the number of U.S. private-sector businesses in the region.

Cigna, a leading American health services organization and Abbot Laboratories, another American health giant have set up regional offices in Nairobi. This is Abbot Labs’ second regional office in Africa after decades of being present in South Africa.

Similarly, Corteva a major American agricultural chemical and seed company and the American Tower Corporation (ATC) have set up regional offices in Kenya. The acquisition of 723 towers from Telkom by ATC and another planned acquisition in the pipeline will make ATC Kenya the biggest private tower operator apart from Safaricom.

The fifth is Emerging Capital Partners (ECP), an American investment company and one of the largest private equity investment firms in the world, who invested about US$34million to acquire a majority stake in Kenyan hospitality outlet – ArtCaffe.

All these five multinationals entered the Kenyan market in the last 12 months.

This surge of investment occurred on the back of plans for the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Kenya Annual Business Summit 2019.

The AmCham Business Summit, to be held on November 4 – 5, 2019 at the U.N. complex in Gigiri is held in partnership with the Kenya and U.S. government as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It serves as an engagement platform for the U.S. and Kenya to find ways to increase two-way, trade and investment for mutual prosperity.

The 2019 edition of the Summit anchored on Kenya as the business hub and gateway into the region, will have an East Africa perspective, with participation expected from Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia in addition to Kenya and the U.S.

Speaking at a media briefing on the AmCham Summit, the AmCham Kenya CEO, Mr. Maxwell Okello explained that the East Africa perspective in this year’s Summit is based on growing interest in the region as a single market.

The program will feature doing business in-country forums, in addition to in depth sector forums on manufacturing, agribusiness, infrastructure, energy, health and the digital economy.

Mr. Okello said Summit provides a platform for direct business to business engagement enabling partnerships to develop and transactions to take place, expanding markets and catalyzing business growth which is the key to job creation and economic prosperity.

Over the same period, other American companies that have been operating in Kenya have also increased their investments. They include Microsoft, Del Monte, Mars Wrigley Confectionery Inc, Coca Cola and Alternet Systems (ALYI).

In 2018, over 500 delegates representing a mix of 140 U.S. and Kenyan companies participated in the AmCham Summit. In attendance were also 70 U.S. government representatives and business leaders including members of the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA) who were visiting Kenya on a fact-finding mission.

Commercial deals worth $100million were signed during the Summit witnessed by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta and the former Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, U.S. Department of Commerce, Gilbert Kaplan.


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