Next year, London will host the first ever UK-Africa Investment Summit, bringing together businesses, governments and international institutions to encourage investment in a range of sectors that African countries have identified as their top priorities. The Summit offers Kenya an unrivalled global platform to attract international investment into the Big 4, the opportunities of which I saw first-hand last week on my visit to Nairobi.
As the Lord Mayor of London, I represent London’s financial district – the City of London or “the Square Mile” – championing the UK’s financial and professional services sector at home and overseas.
I spent Wednesday and Thursday discussing how we leverage greater investment from the City of London to support the Big 4 agenda, business development and local job creation. The City of London manages assets equivalent to over Sh1,000 trillion , but I believe UK investment is about values as much as volume – which is why I was pleased to launch a new UKAid funded report on how Kenyan companies can raise standards on environmental, social and governance issues to international levels.
The City of London and Kenya already enjoy a strong trade and investment relationship. British investment is creating jobs and opportunities here, and channelling money into the Kenyan economy. I am keen to support efforts to grow that relationship of mutual prosperity further.
Kenya’s positive trajectory in the “ease of doing” business rankings, growing economy and dynamic private sector make the country an increasingly exciting proposition for UK investors.
Among the areas for future cooperation and collaboration, fintech – with innovation more broadly – stands out. The UK is one of the world’s top three destinations for venture capital investment in fintech, while London has sealed more fintech investment deals than any other global financial centre so far in 2019.
Kenya, as the home of the world-famous mobile money system M-Pesa, is already leading the way in showcasing the kind of positive social impact fintech can have, providing affordable financial services to 30 million people across the continent. I want to see investors from the City of London supporting the emergence of the next M-Pesa, empowering individuals and businesses to borrow, save, and exchange money.
On Thursday I met with promising Kenyan fintech start-ups, who explained how their innovative products could benefit companies, investors and consumers alike. Those start-ups are receiving business development and investor readiness support through the Catalyst Fund, and I was pleased to be able to announce £10 million of new UKAid funding to support this work.
In the new year, the most promising Kenyan fintechs will travel to London to connect with the UK’s tech-savvy investment community at the Africa Investment Summit; a fantastic opportunity to attract investment and build new mutually beneficial partnerships.
I leave Nairobi confident that there is more we can do together in order to encourage greater investment which supports job creation and mutual prosperity.
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