There is a wave of excitement about Kenya following President Obama’s historic whistle-stop tour. Far from just a Presidential photo-op stop, the trip was a continuation of the Obama administration’s push to support local business climates in Africa, as well as the trade capacity of the region as a whole.
Whilst the US President’s visit provided the Kenyan Shilling with a short term boost, which unfortunately has since dissipated. The long term effects are sure to be positive and wide reaching due to the deals and treaties enacted.
Speaking at the Global Entrepreneur Summit held in Nairobi Obama declared, ‘Africa is one of the fastest growing regions of the world, people are being lifted out of poverty.’ This was followed by the announcement of a flagship $1billion investment programme designed to unlock growth by removing the barriers of funding to Kenyan entrepreneurs and startups.
Deals such as this help to highlight a concerted move which has occurred away from foreign aid to capital investment as a solution to development issues across all of Sub-Saharan Africa. As a result of this change in approach, emerging markets such as Kenya now offer unmatched potential for growth.
Accordingly, Obama was accompanied on his visit by over 200 American investors, who were undoubtedly buoyed by opportunity offered in emerging markets such as Kenya. A number of major deals have since been announced, the largest of which being a deal Sky Power signed with the Kenyan Government for a $2.2 billion solar development project which aims to generate 25,000 new jobs.
Foreign investors part of the Obama delegation were likely already aware of the potential opportunities which exist in the agriculture, retail, construction and mining sectors of Kenya. But what they also came to explore, which likely less was known about before, was a regional hotbed of entrepreneurs and innovators.
Kenya boasts a diverse and quickly expanding tech startup scene dubbed ‘Silicon Savannah.’ Nairobi has proved fertile ground for innovation, it’s home to numerous established accelerators and incubators, with new ones popping up daily. One of the most well known of these incubators is the iHub Innovation Hub, which alone boasts 16,000 members.
Obama’s visit has without doubt added a further boost to Kenya’s emerging market economy and with solid growth predicted in the future, there is much to be excited about going forward.
Do you want to find out more about the recent investment in entrepreneurship in Kenya? If so, check out this in depth roundup from the GES 2015, read here.