Fred Aminga @faminga
President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday witnessed the signing of several deals two of which will see two US companies invest $238 million (Sh24 billion ) in Kenyan projects.
US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and Kipeto Wind Energy Company signed documents to close a $232 million (Sh23.4 billion deal in financing for the construction and operation of a 100-megawatt grid-connected wind power plant south of Nairobi.
The second agreement saw the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) sign a $5 million (Sh500 million) letter of commitment to finance the distribution network of Twiga Foods. The deals were signed by Kenneth Namunje and Grant Brooke for Kipeto Energy and Twiga Foods respectively while Ray Washburne, the President and Chief Executive of OPIC, signed on behalf of his organisation.
President Uhuru assured the US business executives his administration was committed to remove any hurdle that could impede their operations in Kenya.
“Kenya is open for business and all we want to do is package our partnership in a way that it is mutually beneficial to you as a private sector and the people of Kenya,” President Uhuru said, urging them to come and tap opportunities created by the Big Four development blueprint projects.
The US-based BCIU which comprises of 200 member companies helps members to engage internationally.
Last month, US Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Gil Kaplan led a delegation of 60 business executives and senior government officials to the American Chamber of Commerce’s Big Four Summit. President Kenyatta presided over the ceremony focused on multiple deals and agreements valued at nearly Sh10 billion with the Kenyan private sector and government.
Later in the month, Washburne who manages the OPIC, the US government’s development finance vehicle will invest said $1 billion (Sh100 billion) through Connect Africa initiative, over the next three years in projects to strengthen ties between Africa and the global trade market.
Connect Africa will focus investment in three key sectors namely infrastructure development of roads, ports, and airports to support cross-border trade, followed by technology that will improve the way people work and access healthcare and business. Lastly, they mentioned investing in value chains, or the processes that connect the people who produce raw materials, like farmers, to the end user.
“For Kenya specifically, we’ve done 63 projects. We currently have 14. Our current portfolio is around $700 million and for something specific,” Washburne said.