NAIROBI, KENYA , JAN 23 — The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has expressed interest in investing in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s “Big Four” plan, which seeks to guarantee Kenyans food security, affordable housing, affordable healthcare and growth of the manufacturing sector.
Through the Abu Dhabi based government owned strategic investment fund — Mubadala Investment Company, the UAE is keen to invest billions in the country, with a major focus on healthcare, agriculture and agro-processing.
This follows successful lobbying by a team from the Kenyan government, led by Mining Cabinet Secretary,Kazungu, which has successfully sold the Kenyan agenda in the Middle East.
“This morning in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, I met with Mr William John Morrell, Senior Vice President, Mubadala, UAE’s leading investment group in a number of sectors including mining, energy as well as healthcare, agriculture and agro processing,” Kazungu said in a statement.
“We agreed to share more information from both sides and avail him time to consult on the initial levels of interest from top Mudabala executives, and jointly agree on the next steps as we embark on a journey of creating value and opportunities for Kenya and the United Arab Emirates,” he added.
Kenya however has to guarantee among others legal, policy and fiscal stability to lure investments from the East.
Mubadala is a sovereign wealth fund of the government of Abu Dhabi and specialize in buyout investments.
The firm prefers to invest in consumer staples, consumer discretionary, energy, industrial and information and communication technology, telecommunication services among other areas.
Their key interest in mining is in the areas of gold, bauxite (aluminia), copper, lead and zinc with investments ranging between Ksh50 billion and Ksh200 billion.
They are currently involved in bauxite mining in Guinea which is home to the largest bauxite deposit in the world.
“Mubadala will have internal reviews and consultations and will engage Kenya once they are satisfied not just with the “Big Four” opportunities but whether we can guarantee stability,” Kazungu said.
The CS who has this week led a team from Kenya to market the country in the UAE also met Sheikh Abdulla Bin Hamad, a Dubai royalty, as well as Dr Abdulaziz Al Masallan, the chairman of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage and chairman of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce.
“Sheikh Abdulla agreed to visit Kenya soon to scout, survey and confirm the opportunities that Kenya present around the Big Four before making firm commitments on possible partnerships,” said Kazungu.
“ Dr Masallan confirmed his willingness to support cultural initiatives meant to reconnect and enhance relationships between the people of East Africa and the United Arab Emirates especially the planned Malindi International Film Week,” he added.
The Sharjah Chamber of Commerce is expected to send a delegation to both the Kenya International Gem and Jewellery Fair in July, and the African Mining Baraza in November.
It will also send a business delegation to Kenya in December 2018 to engage businesses in emerging opportunities between the two countries, Kazungu confirmed, noting that investments from the Middle East country will create jobs, revenues and technology transfer for Kenya.
The government is counting on the private sector contribution to achieve President Uhuru’s plan which includes providing at least five hundred thousand (500,000) affordable new houses to Kenyans by 2022, consequently improving the living conditions for Kenyans.
The government is also keen to support value addition and raise the manufacturing sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product to 15 per cent by 2022, envisioned to accelerate economic growth, create jobs and reduce poverty.
President Uhuru is also ardent to lead the Jubilee administration in achieving universal affordable healthcare and food security by the end of his final five —year tenure.
To support the ‘Big Four’, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich has allocated Ksh38.8 billion to Agriculture, Rural and Urban development in the financial year 2018/19, as captured in the draft budget for the next financial year commencing July.
This is up from Ksh38.4 billion in the current financial year.
The health sector will have a budget of Ksh64.3 billion up from the current Ksh61.7 billion.
On Saturday, Kazungu held talks with the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) Executive Chairman Ahmed Bin Sulayem.
The two agreed to partner in mining investments and creating markets for Kenya’s minerals.
The CS has also held talks with the director general of the United Arab Emirates Chamber of Commerce, Abdelaziz Mohamed Shattaf, where the two discussed partnerships around business and culture between Kenya and the UAE.