Kenya’s FDI from Dubai hits $253m

Thursday November 09 2023

An aerial view of Dubai in the United Arab Emirate. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK


Kenya’s stock of foreign direct investments (FDIs) from Dubai hit $253 million (Ksh38.3 billion) in the five years to June 2023, data by the Financial Time’s investment tracker fDi Intelligence shows, signalling growing deals in key sectors such as food processing, financial services, IT and software. 

Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, president and CEO of Dubai Chambers, said the FDI is projected to grow significantly as more firms from the Gulf nation eye Kenya deals.

“We always believe that trade and investment give a positive value and more companies in Dubai are targeting deals in Kenya,” he told Business Daily in Nairobi on Wednesday on the sidelines of a trade meeting between Dubai and Kenyan firms.

Read: Saudi Arabia overtakes China as Kenya’s top import market

“We have had meetings with Ken Trade (Kenya Trade Network Agency) as well as various business groups in Kenya and they have pointed us to various bankable investment opportunities," he said.

"We brought 19 companies from Dubai to Kenya for business matching meetings and I certainly know they will pick up opportunities because Kenya is an important market.” 


Mr Lootah said that the value of non-oil bilateral trade between Kenya and Dubai grew seven percent to $2.1 billion (Ksh318.28 billion) last year, compared to the previous year.

Kenya has registered investment deals by Dubai firms in key sectors, including financial services, telecoms, foods and beverages, industrial equipment, transport and storage, and software and IT services.

For example, the Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u in October announced that the United Arab Emirates UAE-based Infrastructure Corporation of Africa LLC (ICA) will take over 60 percent of shares in Telkom Kenya from private equity firm Helios after a competitive process.

In the same month, the CS revealed a bid by Pioneer General Insurance, a firm co-owned by three Dubai-registered entities, to buy Sidian Bank shares worth Ksh1.9 billion ($12.5 million) and control 20 percent of the lender.

Barely a week ago, two Dubai firms announced plans to enter the dairy and construction sectors in Kenya.

Read: Dubai-based firm eyes Kenya’s cheese market

Another Dubai-based food, and beverage company, Nutridor, revealed its plans for a new $15 million (Ksh2.25 billion) processing plant for dairy products such as cheese and butter, targeting Kenya and Tanzania.

Nutridor has customers in more than 15 countries and the six oil-producing nations under the Gulf Corporation Council including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arabs Emirates.