UAE fund unveils Sh3.5bn investment deal in Kenya

President Uhuru Kenyatta with Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, a Dubai minister. PHOTO | PSCU

The Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development (KFED), which is backed by the government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi has announced its first investment in Kenya to the tune of $30 million (Sh3.57 billion).

The UAE Fund in February established a local innovation and entrepreneurship centre with an eye on Kenya deals.

The Abu Dhabi Stated-backed fund said the capital would be channelled through the Kenyan Youth Enterprise Development Fund.

The funds will target to provide early-stage funding to promising start-ups and founders, it added. It was not immediately clear whether the capital is a loan or a grant.

“More than 3,000 projects with 40 percent allocated for women will be financed and expected to generate nearly 13,000 job opportunities for the Kenyan youth,” said KFED.

The fund says on its website that it has disbursed loans amounting to Sh40.8 billion (1.32 billion AED).

It said earlier it would help fund, train, and connect Kenyan small and medium-sized enterprises with investors.

Raising start-up capital and access to markets are some of the biggest challenges for budding Kenyan entrepreneurs, with banks requiring collateral that most of them do not have, a past study showed.

The Kenyan Youth Enterprise Development Fund was established in 2006 to provide loans for youth-owned businesses.

“The Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development and National Treasury and Planning Ministry in the Republic of Kenya have signed a Dh110 million ($30 million) financing agreement to empower the Kenyan Youth Enterprise Development Fund,” KFED announced in a statement.

“Signed in the attendance of President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya by Alia Al Mazrouei, CEO of KFED, and Ukur Kanacho Yatani, Cabinet secretary, National Treasury and Planning Ministry, the agreement aims to promote entrepreneurship and develop small and medium enterprises in Kenya.”

Khalifa Fund was established by the government of Abu Dhabi with total capital of Sh61.9 billion ($545 million) in 2007.

''We aim to support the Kenyan government efforts to achieve economic development through enhancing the SMEs sector, and spreading the culture of entrepreneurship among youth and women's empowerment,'' said KFED chief executive Alia Al Mazrouei.

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