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Economy

Kenya-based British firms top winners in UK-Africa summit

UK-Africa Investment Summit in London
Delegates during the opening session of the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London on Monday. PHOTO | AFP 

British companies with operations in Kenya signed a raft of business deals during the UK-Africa Investment conference in which President Uhuru Kenyatta led a delegation, making them the biggest beneficiaries of British Prime Minister’s Boris Johnson renewed bid to deepen economic ties with Nairobi.

London-listed Kefi Minerals plc, an exploration and development company that deals in gold and copper deposits, said following the conference it will invest Sh29.4 billion (£224 million) in a new gold mine and develop local infrastructure in Kenya.

Kefi is currently implementing two gold projects in Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia.

British CDC-backed African independent power producer Globeleq announced it will invest Sh6.5 billion (about £50 million) to build a photovoltaic solar park in Malindi. Last June it reached financial close on the project.

It received Sh5.2 billion in debt financing from UK’s development finance institution CDC, including Sh2 billion from the German development finance institution DEG.

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Located in Langobaya in Malindi, which is about 120 kilometres north-east of Mombasa, the project is one of the first independent power producer-owned utility-scale solar power plants in Kenya.

Globeleq CEO Paul Hanrahan said then: “The attractive investment climate combined with strong local community support sets the stage for this important project as well as future investments in Kenya. We are extremely pleased to be making this investment into the Kenyan energy sector.’’

During the UK African summit, British oil explorer Tullow also announced it will invest Sh158 billion (£1.2 billion) in continued oil production in Kenya.

Meanwhile the UK announced Sh460 million (£3.5 million) aid for women’s economic empowerment to extend DFID’s SheTrades Commonwealth work.

SheTrades is an initiative of the International Trade Centre (ITC), a joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation.

The aid will support Kenyan female entrepreneurs to secure more investment through specialist business training and create potential investment and development partnerships for women entrepreneurs.

“When women are economically empowered, their whole community benefits,” said UK’s International Development Secretary Alok Sharma.

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