Population (2017): 47.6 million
GDP (2017): US$79.5 billion (S$107.3 billion)
World Bank “Ease of Doing Business” Rank (2018): 80
Bilateral Trade with Singapore (2017): S$85.4 million
Kenya is one of the fastest growing economies in East Africa, with GDP growth averaging at 6% per year between 2010 and 2017. The sustained economic growth is due to the country’s significant political, structural and economic reforms.
The Kenyan government has taken proactive steps to promote a more business-friendly environment in Kenya. This resulted in Kenya jumping 12 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings from 92nd to 80th in 2017.
As part of Kenya’s Vision 2030, the government has planned a national long-term development policy aimed at transforming Kenya into an industrialising and middle-income country by 2030.
Your company can ride on Kenya’s growth plans to explore opportunities in agri-business, energy, infrastructure, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), manufacturing, and tourism.
Kenya is East Africa’s regional trade and finance hub, and the undisputed gateway to the region. Mombasa has one of the most important ports in the Indian Ocean seaboard, while the capital Nairobi serves as East Africa’s diplomatic and business centre.
Kenya has one of Africa’s most developed financial services infrastructure. In addition, many multinational corporations like General Electric, Google, Huawei, Microsoft, Nokia, Pfizer, Toyota, and Visa have established their regional headquarters in Nairobi.
Nairobi is also the African headquarters of international organisations such as World Bank, and the United Nations. In 2018, Enterprise Singapore opened our overseas centre in Nairobi to spearhead Singapore companies’ entry into the fast-growing East Africa region.
The Kenya government is building on the country’s connectivity. Kenya is the region’s air hub, with over 100 international connections from Nairobi. Nairobi is the transportation hub of Eastern and Central Africa, and the Port of Mombasa supplies the shipping needs of more than a dozen countries.
The opening of the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) has significantly improved logistics efficiency. This will be the first installment of a seven-country rail network.
The Lamu Port and South Sudan, Ethiopia Transport (LAPPSET) corridor development creates Kenya’s second logistic corridor. This will help to improve infrastructure development and scale down the cost of transportation and logistics, which can be one of the biggest setbacks of doing business in Kenya.
A flagship infrastructure project by the Kenyan government is the building of another port at Lamu. The US$5 billion Lamu port will comprise 32 deep-sea berths and increase Kenya’s port handling capacity by 23 million tons per year by 2030.
You can capitalise on these opportunities in infrastructure building and improved connectivity in Kenya to reach the rest of the country and the region.
Kenya is known as Africa’s Silicon Valley or “Silicon Savannah”. This is due to the Kenyan government’s major Information and Communications Technology (ICT) push, the M-Pesa mobile payments revolution, and the launch of iHub – a space for startups that has transformed Nairobi into a technology epicentre.
These measures have seen the ICT sector’s output increase by 10.9% to Ksh 345.1 billion (S$4.66 billion) in 2017.
The Kenyan government has laid out further plans to develop the ICT sector in its Vision 2030 goals. One strategy is to develop the US$14.5 billion (S$19.8 billion) Konza Technology City that would build Kenya’s capabilities in Business Processing Outsourcing and other related IT services. Construction would be carried out in several phases over 20 years, and expected to be completed by 2019.
Your company can benefit from these developments, which have made it easier to do business in Kenya. For example, customs paperwork has been replaced with an electronic interface system known as Simba. It is also more efficient to conduct trade in Kenya, as customs checks are now conducted mainly via computerised scanning, with fewer physical checks.
Find out how your business can capture opportunities in East Africa.
To stay updated on Kenya market information and insights, subscribe to our newsletter.