The Nairobi International Financial Centre (NIFC) has been launched in Nairobi.
During its opening, which was witnessed by President Kenyatta, it emerged that the Centre seeks to put the country on the global map as far as investments and the conduction of financial services are concerned.
The Centre has been opened following a technical partnership with the UK.
Its goal, as a whole, is to develop a more predictable and efficient business environment that encourages both domestic and foreign investment that would contribute to sustainable economic growth.
At the same time, the Centre seeks to work with global and regional businesses that offer substantial capital, push for innovation, and achieve high standards of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) performance.
This includes private equity and venture capital firms, asset managers, insurance companies, and financial services companies with a focus on fintech and green finance.
The Centre looks forward to creating opportunities to mobilize domestic and international savings and investments.
It also looks to deepen employment in the financial services sector and related sectors.
It will also seek to attract local companies that fit the participation criteria and create an environment that encourages proactive collaboration between local and international players.
The Centre will work with CityUK, and stakeholders from both Kenya and the UK. It has developed a diagnostic report on Kenya’s fintech policy and regulatory environment, and on funding mechanisms.
It has also developed tools that would be useful for fintech looking to scale their operations.
According to a statement from the launch, this is just the beginning of the transformative and strategic action the NIFC is set to bring about.
NIFC has also signed an MoU with the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), to help increase financing and investment in the manufacturing sector in Kenya.
The partnership wants to focus on attracting more private capital to support the local financing needs and those in the region.
The NIFC general regulations have been enacted and the initial set of tax incentive proposals have been passed.
Companies operating a carbon market exchange or emission trading system under the NIFC will benefit from 15% corporate tax for the first 10 years of operation.
Investor companies certified by the NIFC Authority and have invested a minimum of Ksh 5 billion will benefit from the certainty that the Capital Gains Tax applicable at the time they make their investments will remain unchanged during the lifetime of the investments.
Speaking at the launch, President Uhuru Kenyatta said: “The Nairobi International Financial Centre can play a key role in creating the right environment for fintech to thrive; for innovation and new technologies like blockchain and artificial intelligence to be mainstreamed; and for investors to inject new capital into businesses in Kenya and across the region. We all share the same goals in the pursuit of economic prosperity, and I call on the business community, policymakers, and regulators alike, to work closely together to support the growth of businesses that create value and improve lives.”
NIFC Board Chair Vincent Rague said “NIFC will prioritize three key themes which include fintech, green finance, and attracting large pools of capital and multinational company headquarters. The NIFC Authority has been in discussions with Singapore-based global carbon exchange, AirCarbon Exchange (ACX), which seeks to set up a carbon exchange in Kenya. ACX has today signed a collaboration agreement with the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) and the NIFC Authority. This will support the growth of climate finance in Kenya by establishing a locally accessible marketplace for carbon offsets.”
Jane Marriott OBE, British High Commissioner said: “The UK-Kenya partnership continues to go from strength to strength, and I am happy to have witnessed this today as we launch the Nairobi International Financial Centre, which signed a memorandum of understanding to deepen collaboration with the City UK when President Kenyatta visited the UK last year. We look forward to unlocking new opportunities for the UK and Kenyan businesses by strengthening links between Nairobi and the City of London.