Nairobi financial hub signs up three global firms on launch

L-R: Prudential Africa Chief Operating Officer Nick Holder, NIFC Authority chairman Vincent Rague, Treasury CS Secretary Ukur Yatani and Head of Public Service Dr. Joseph Kinyua, after the presentation of a certificate to Prudential Africa as the first NIFC firm. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

Nairobi’s international financial centre has signed up three companies on the day of its launch including Prudential plc, ARC Ride Kenya and AirCarbon Exchange (ACX).

Prudential, one of the world's biggest insurers and asset managers, became the first firm to formally join the Nairobi International Financial Centre (NIFC), a special economic zone for financial firms, along Singapore-based global carbon exchange ACX, which seeks to set up a carbon exchange in Kenya.

NIFC has also admitted ARC Ride Kenya, a new start-up that is going to produce two and three-wheeled electric scooters and bikes, through the establishment of an electric vehicle assembly plant in Nairobi.

The Financial Centre has also signed an MoU with the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), to help increase financing and investment in the manufacturing sector in Kenya.

The Authority said it is in discussions with additional participants seeking to join the Centre and these will be announced in due course.

“Last year Prudential Plc, one of the world's biggest insurers and asset managers, made a commitment to relocating their Africa headquarters from London to Nairobi and join the Centre. Today we are proud to announce that Prudential becomes the first firm to formally join the Nairobi International Financial Centre,” Vincent Rague, Chairman NIFC Authority.

Kenya finally launched its international financial centre eyeing large foreign firms and boosting capital flows to the country and the region.

The NIFC Authority has identified four sectors that it will prioritise for growth: green finance, financial technology, investment funds, and becoming a hub for regional multinationals.

The Financial centre authority said in order to further strengthen the impact investing ecosystem, a multi-stakeholder platform is currently in formation through the combined efforts of various impact investing entities, and the NIFC will work closely with these investors to help bolster the position of Nairobi as an impact investment hub.

Firms considering conducting business through the NIFC must apply for certification from the NIFC Authority.

The NIFC general regulations have been enacted and the initial set of tax incentive proposals have been passed.

Companies operating a carbon market exchange or emission trading system under the NIFC will benefit from 15 percent corporate tax for the first 10 years of operation.

Investor companies certified by the NIFC Authority and have invested a minimum of Sh5 billion will benefit from the certainty that the Capital Gains Tax applicable at the time they make their investments will remain unchanged during the lifetime of the investments.

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