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UK pledges support for investors eyeing Kenya entry

UK Premier Theresa May
UK Premier Theresa May. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The British government has signalled support for private companies based in the UK planning to inject billions of shillings in Kenya's industrial sector.

Speaking during the launch of the 49,000 square metre Africa Logistics Properties (ALP) North Industrial Park warehouse in Kiambu County Thursday British Deputy High Commissioner Susie Kitchens said UK firms were keen to ride on the success of some 250 businesses currently operating in Kenya to fast-track establishment of their subsidiaries locally.

"This new warehousing facility not only represents a significant investment in the local economy by British investors but will unlock new investments from the United Kingdom,” the envoy said.

It is billed as a ‘smart’ warehouse that creates a manufacturing-supplier-warehouse-distribution network while managing individual firms’ in-and-out trays for prompt delivery of required items.

Ms Kitchens said a new facility dubbed ALP South, to be put up at Tilisi Industrial Park along the Southern bypass, will soon be constructed bringing total investments by the UK firm to Sh10 billion.

Local industries as well as an incoming e-commerce firm have taken up 75 per cent space, which according to ALP signals demand for Just-in-Time warehousing facilities in Kenya that can accommodate various goods from fresh produce, meat products, drugs to sensitive chemicals among others.

“Poor warehousing facilities have always introduced risks into the supply chain, deterring expansion of private sector investment into Kenya. Existing warehouse facilities are much smaller ‘go-down’ type units of 1,000sqm or less that cost more, are less efficient and ultimately result in higher storage prices,” ALP’s chief executive Toby Selman said.

He said lack of modern warehousing facilities made doing business in Kenya expensive with consumers bearing the cost burden passed on to them.

Mr Selman said the second facility at Tilisi will provide an additional 100,000 square metres of space for manufacturers, importers and distributors to put their goods in one location.

The British firm is owned by institutional shareholder-investors Maris, the UK government’s investment arm CDC, UK pension funds and other European private equity investors.

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