Kenya’s growth attracts 50 Norwegian businesses

Norwegian companies are trooping to Kenya to tap emerging opportunities, buoyed by increased growth and the improving business environment.

Norway's minister for Trade and Industry Monica Maeland said today 50 Norwegian companies have already set up operations in Kenya’s different sectors through partnerships and joint ventures. “Norway has an internationally oriented economy. So we have to pay close attention when markets are shifting and new opportunities open up,” she said.

Speaking in Nairobi during the launch of the Norway Business Forum, which brought together various players from government and private sector, Ms Maeland said Norwegian businesses are targeting opportunities in renewable energy, aquaculture as well as trade and investment.

The forum was officially opened by the Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Amina Mohammed, who revealed that bilateral trade between the two countries had tripled over the last 10 years from $12 million in 2004 to $42 million in 2014.

“Kenya has implemented extensive social-economic and political reforms and is today ranked among the best investment destinations not only in Africa but also in the world,” she said.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) World Investment report 2015, Kenya’s foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows reached $97.8 billion, a 95% increase from Ksh49.9 billion in 2013.

The partnerships with Norwegian firms are facilitated by Innovation Norway, the government agency established to promote development of Norwegian enterprises in international markets. So far 50 potential projects for 32 different Norwegian companies have been identified ranging from water management, to ICT solutions and retail industry.

She said Norfund – the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries - has invested $230 million in Kenya, while the Norwegian government pension fund has already invested over $76 million in 11 Kenyan companies.

“Norwegian companies are technologically advanced. We have a lot of experience in relevant sectors like renewable energy, aquaculture, and green growth,” she said. “Norwegian companies contribute not only in terms of their core businesses, but also in terms of technology transfer and by being responsible partners.”

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