Markets & Finance

World Bank Kenya set for shift to Ambani-built tower


Delta Centre in Upper Hill, Nairobi, which was sold to the World Bank. Photo/FILE

The World Bank is set to shift its Kenyan office to a new commercial office block it acquired from a property development firm associated with Indian tycoon Mukesh Ambani in Nairobi.

The bank has announced it will next month relocate from its current Upper Hill offices in Hill Park Building to Delta Centre, located in the same locality.

Several arms of the World Bank Group which have been operating in separate office blocks will be hosted in the building.

“This is to notify the public that the World Bank Group offices in Kenya will be co-locating into new premises effective November 1, 2013,” the institution said in a statement.

The World Bank is said to have acquired the Delta Centre in 2011.

READ: Nairobi to host more World Bank staff

The International Finance Corporation, which is the World Bank’s private sector lending arm, is also expected to re-locate to the new complex.

The move by World Bank to its own premises in Kenya signifies growing operations of the Washington-based institution locally, including policy formulation.

Mr Ambani, through his local firm Delta Corporation East Africa, sold the multi-storied complex to World Bank reportedly to the tune of $22.8 million (Sh1.9 billion) two years ago.

Construction of the building has been ongoing during this period.

The local company is a subsidiary of Ambani’s business empire Reliance Industries, whose headquarters are in India.

The relocation is expected to save the global lender huge sums of money in rent.

It is still not yet clear whether the International Monetary Fund, a fellow Bretton Woods Institution, will also move in with the World Bank.

The new office space is expected to be fully occupied with no room for letting out.

Upper Hill is increasingly becoming a prime spot for property investment with multiple local and international firms setting up either their headquarters in the area or building units for letting out.

Britam, Equity Bank, CBA and lately KCB Bank are some of firms that have moved or are in the process of moving their main offices in the area. 

Equally, the allure of lucrative opportunities in the real estate sector has attracted global figures such as Mr Ambani, the world’s 22nd richest man according to latest ranking by Forbes, with a net worth of $21.5 billion.

Upper Hill has been seen a favourite property investment spot owing to growing demand for office blocks from corporates, NGOs and State agencies which have been moving away from Nairobi’s central business district.