NAIROBI, Kenya: July 18 (Xinhua) — Kenya attracted investments worth 470 million U.S. dollars in the first half of this year largely from foreign investors, data from the Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest) has revealed.

Most of the investments came in the first quarter of the year ending March, totaling 376 million dollars, the state agency in charge of investment promotion said in data released on Wednesday.

The investment in the first quarter was near similar in value to the investment in the similar period of last year, the agency said. A total of 57 project proposals of diverse nature and spread across main economic sectors were received by the agency during the first half of the year, the data showed.

The first quarter had 34 project proposals with potential to create 2,812 employment opportunities for Kenyans and 235 opportunities for foreigners.

“The sectors that attracted the highest investment include manufacturing, service industry, mining, energy and construction in that order,” KenInvest said in a statement.

In the second quarter of the year, a total of 25 project proposals were received by the agency. The projects have potential employment opportunities for 753 Kenyans and 72 foreigners.

Wholesale and retail proposals were the majority in the fourth quarter with inquiries from South Africa, India and Turkey featuring prominently followed by proposals in tourism by investors from Italy, Russia, Australia and South Korea.

Kenya has been implementing reforms to make it easier for investors to do business in the country in order to make it more competitive to attracting foreign investors. The country has often been ranked lowly by the successive Doing Business Report released by the World Bank every year.

Despite Kenya having the largest and most dynamic economy in the eastern African region, countries like Tanzania and Uganda have in the recent past attracted more foreign investments that Kenya because of ease of doing business there.

But Kenya has also been disadvantaged by lack of commercially viable mineral resources until a few months a go when oil was discovered in the country’s northern region of Turkana.

Investment Bank Stanbic Investment East Africa forecast that in the next 5 years, Kenya could attract more than one billion dollars in foreign investment every year because of the ongoing business reforms, change in governance system from centralized government to County governments and discovery of oil.

KenInvest is also expected to launch an on-line platform next month that will enable prospective investors make their proposals on-line, get approval or rejection and the necessary licences on- line.

The platform is part of launching a one-stop-shop where investors can get all the required licences at one location. Currently, investors have to visit more than ten agencies to obtain necessary licences.

The new platform is expected to increase efficiency in proposal evaluation and licensing of businesses enabling investors to set up faster than they currently do, making it easier to do business in Kenya. (Xinhua)

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