Greenfield investment monitor fDi Markets reports that Kenya attracted 96 projects in 2015, a 54.84% increase from 2014 and the highest rate of investment since the monitor began recording data in 2003. During 2015, 71 companies invested in Kenya, the highest number of investing companies to date, with a combined capital expenditure of $2.55bn.

Job creation in 2015 also saw a sharp increase of 163.75% on the previous year, with a particularly strong fourth quarter which increased by 797.02% compared to quarter four of 2014. Figures for 2015 surpass those of 2013, the previous multi-year high in terms of projects won, jobs created and number of investing companies.

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Capital expenditure for 2015, however, remained lower than in 2013 because Kenya received several significant multimillion-dollar investments from companies including India’s Delta Corporation, Mauritius-based Liquid Telecom and Nigeria’s Dangote Group. Kenya’s FDI resurgence in 2015 is clearer still when compared with the rest of the continent.

Climbing the rankings

Between January 2003 and December 2014 Kenya ranked fifth out of 55 African countries for the number of FDI projects recorded. However, it climbed to second place in 2015, with only long-time powerhouse South Africa attracting more investment in Africa. During 2015 Kenya managed to attract 12.44% of the continent’s investment, most of which concerned financial services, business services, communications, software and real estate. 

The key investing countries in Kenya during 2015 were the UK and US, contributing 16 FDI projects each, followed by India, accounting for 10 projects and South Africa which invested in seven. Nairobi won the lion’s share of investment, attracting 54.17% of all FDI into Kenya between January 2015 and December 2015, followed by Mombasa with 6.25%. 

Data for the first half of 2016 shows a decline in Kenya’s FDI compared with the same time period in 2015. Six companies have so far signalled their interest in future investments in the country, so it remains to be seen whether or not Kenya can sustain its economic growth.