May 24, 2024

Ruto woos US tech giant companies, promises business-friendly environment

3 min read
Ruto woos US tech giant companies, promises business-friendly environment

President William Ruto woos US tech companies despite raising taxes on businesses at home

President William Ruto woos US tech companies despite raising taxes on businesses at home.

President William Ruto appealed in an address to leading U.S. technology companies and investors on Friday in San Francisco, highlighting investment opportunities in his country and lauding his government’s “strategic priorities.”

The President said Kenya has a conducive environment for investments in technology and manufacturing.

“Kenya is a full package investment destination; economically stable, entrepreneurial, secure, innovative with a favorable tax environment, skilled labor force, technological expertise, green energy credentials and a gateway for six undersea fiber-optic cables providing reliable data connectivity,” he said.

The President was speaking when he met Chief Executive Officers Tim Cook (Apple), Patrick Gelsinger (Intel), Google’s Chief Financial Officer of Alphabet Ruth Porat, Brad Smith (Microsoft COO) and other executives from Microsoft, Nike, GAP and Levi Strauss in San Francisco, United States.

He assured the investors that the Government will carefully consider and address any concerns they may have to increase their confidence in Kenya.

The US companies expressed confidence in the country as an ideal investment destination.

The Government will carefully consider and address any concerns they may have to increase their confidence in Kenya

Mr. Cook said Apple will consider setting up a developer’s academy and will also tap into Kenya’s green data centre potential.

Intel, Mr Gelsinger added, views Kenya as a good investment destination.

Mr Smith said Kenya’s impressive returns on investment position it as an appealing destination for American venture capital.

He noted that Kenya, despite offering solutions with broader applicability to connectivity and energy, remains largely unexplored.

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Ms Porat said Google has committed to investing USD 1 billion in Africa to bolster its digital training and innovation initiatives.

Visa Global President Oliver Jenkyn said Kenya has played a vital role in enabling Visa to establish a strong presence in the East African market.

He said the organization has picked Kenya as the only African country to host Visa’s global digital innovation studio.

“Less than a year ago Visa made a commitment to invest USD 1 Billion in Africa over the next five years and a large portion of that is going to Kenya,” he said.

However, critics say that his government’s newly imposed and several proposed taxes will increase the cost of doing business in Kenya, including in the tech sector.

Ruto administration in its first budget this year doubled the digital service tax to 3%, targeting foreign tech giants that use the internet to market and sell products.

The government had projected it would rake in billions in the local currency, the Kenyan shilling, from the doubled digital services tax, but critics warned it would discourage tech investors.

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