Kenya targets one-stop shop for foreign investor support services

Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest) acting Managing Director Florence Benta Were. 

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

Kenya is eyeing a one-stop centre to process all the required paperwork for investors in a bid to ease hitches in clearance and entry into the country.

The shop to be domiciled under the Kenya Investment Authority will provide critical services such as tax administration, immigration work permits and visas, licensing of economic zones, and land ownership clearance.

The centralised facility, which is part of the proposed Investment Promotion and Facilitation Bill 2024, is meant to end the tedious and lengthy process that investors must go through to be cleared in Kenya.

Easing the entry of investors is key to Kenya’s efforts of scaling up job creation and boosting the manufacturing sector.

“The authority may establish and operationalise a centralised facility for purposes of providing government services and regulatory requirements for investors,” the Ministry of Trade, drafter of the Bill, says.

Currently, investors seeking to set up shop in Kenya are required to traverse different offices in Nairobi to get the necessary paperwork and clearance. The lengthy process has been cited as frustrating, impeding Kenya’s ability to keep attracting investors.

Kenya has for years been struggling to create jobs, a situation that was made worse by the coronavirus outbreak in 2020, which led to massive layoffs.

Official data from the Economic Survey 2023 shows that some 2.97 million Kenyans were jobless in 2022, which is likely to have increased significantly. The job creation crisis has mainly hit hundreds of thousands of Kenyan youth graduating from universities and colleges every year.

The rising cost of doing business in Kenya has hurt recovery efforts, highlighting why easing the entry of investors is critical.

Other services to be offered under the centralised facility include the issuance of business permits and licensing services, including the relevant approvals by county governments.

The one-stop facility is one of the plans by the government to boost investor confidence and help the country compete against its neighbours, notably Tanzania, Rwanda, and Ethiopia.

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