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Global investors eye multi-billion deals at Nairobi conference

 Michelle Kathryn Essomé
AVCA’s chief executive officer, Michelle Kathryn Essomé. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Cash-starved infrastructure projects in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s four priority sectors in his last term are set to get a boost from foreign and domestic private equity firms, which are lining up bets worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The deals are expected to be signed at the 16th annual conference organised by the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (AVCA) — a group that promotes private investment in Africa. The two-day event starts today in Nairobi.

“We are seeing a lot of bankable opportunities,” said AVCA’s chief executive officer, Michelle Kathryn Essomé at a media briefing ahead of the conference.

Kenya has often been tipped to remain a hotspot for private equity (PE) with global deal makers expected to be attracted by an improved business environment.

The country was ranked the third most attractive African market last year, indicating the huge promise despite multiple challenges arising from a recent pile-up of public debt.

The report said Kenya’s top ranking has benefited from recent government’s action to make the country a viable and competitive technology hub through formulation of policies to drive the initiative.

Speaking ahead of the event, Centum Investment CEO James Mworia, said the most attractive projects line-up for investment include in sectors such as affordable housing, healthcare, food security and education among others. Centum is among local firms eyeing deals with global firms attending the conference.

President Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda aims to boost economic growth through spending, improving food security and rolling out universal healthcare, supporting manufacturing and building affordable housing.

“We have good ideas but we are facing a challenge of investable opportunities,” said Mr Mworia.

The event will convene some 500 African and international participants representing $1.5 trillion (about Sh12 trillion) in assets under management.

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