Over the past five years leading up to June 2023, Kenya has witnessed a surge in foreign direct investments (FDIs) from Dubai, reaching $253 million (Ksh38.3 billion), as reported by the Financial Times’ investment tracker, fDi Intelligence. The data highlights a growing trend of deals in key sectors, including food processing, financial services, IT, and software.
Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers, anticipates a significant increase in FDI, emphasising that more companies from the Gulf nation are eyeing lucrative deals in Kenya. During a trade meeting between Dubai and Kenyan firms, he expressed confidence in the positive impact of trade and investment, citing the active interest of Dubai-based companies in exploring opportunities in Kenya.
Lootah revealed that discussions with Ken Trade (Kenya Trade Network Agency) and various Kenyan business groups have identified several bankable investment opportunities. A delegation of 19 companies from Dubai was brought to Kenya for business matching meetings, with the expectation that they would seize valuable opportunities in the Kenyan market.
The value of non-oil bilateral trade between Kenya and Dubai witnessed a seven percent growth, reaching $2.1 billion (Ksh318.28 billion) in the previous year. Kenya has seen notable investment deals from Dubai firms across diverse sectors such as financial services, telecoms, food and beverages, industrial equipment, transport and storage, and software and IT services.
Examples of significant investments include the Infrastructure Corporation of Africa LLC (ICA) from the UAE taking over 60 percent of shares in Telkom Kenya and Dubai-based Pioneer General Insurance’s bid to acquire Sidian Bank shares. Recently, two Dubai firms announced plans to enter Kenya’s dairy and construction sectors, with Nutridor unveiling a $15 million (Ksh2.25 billion) processing plant for dairy products targeting Kenya and Tanzania. Nutridor, a Dubai-based food and beverage company, already serves customers in over 15 countries, including six oil-producing nations in the Gulf Corporation Council.