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Nairobi financial centre set for June launch after naming board

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Oscar Njuguna, acting CEO Nairobi International Financial Centre (NIFC). PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

The Nairobi International Financial Centre (NIFC) is eyeing June 2022 for its formal launch, following the setting up of its board and publication of regulations to back its operations.

NIFC acting chief executive Oscar Njuguna said that the agency is currently in talks with a number of firms that are interested in signing up to the centre, which is expected to offer incentives in areas such as tax and immigration to attract investments into the country.

The agency, which was mooted in 2008 to support the transformation of Nairobi into a financial hub, in July 2021 received a letter of intent to join from British underwriter Prudential Plc which intends to set up its Africa headquarters in Nairobi.

It also signed a memorandum of understanding with TheCityUK, an industry-led body representing UK-based financial and related professional services, including the London Stock Exchange.

“We are looking at a formal launch in mid-year…we are speaking to a number of institutions that are looking to do corporate lending, green finance, private equity and bespoke asset managers,” said Mr Njuguna.

The centre is also targeting fintech investments which have gone up significantly in Kenya in recent years, driving the creation of new jobs among the youth.

The NIFC Act was signed into law in 2017 but did not go into full operation pending the appointment of a board to oversee its operations. The board was finally appointed last year, and the Treasury also published regulations to operationalise the Act in December.

Kenya is hoping to attract firms to operate within the financial centre by offering a raft of incentives which include tax rebates, faster processing of regulatory applications and faster processing of work permits for international staff.

It is then expected that these businesses will bring capital flows into Kenya, create high-quality jobs for locals and provide skills transfers in the long term.

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