Capital markets

UAE fund unveils 3.5 billion shillings investment deal in Kenya

President Uhuru Kenyatta with Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, a minister from Dubai. PICTURES | PSCU

The Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development (KFED), which is backed by the government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, has announced its first investment in Kenya to the tune of $30 million (3.57 billion shillings).

The UAE Fund set up a local innovation and entrepreneurship hub in February keeping an eye on deals with Kenya.

The Abu Dhabi state-backed fund said the capital would be channeled through the Kenya Youth Business Development Fund.

The funds will aim to provide seed funding to promising start-ups and founders, he added. It was not immediately clear if the capital is a loan or a grant.

“Over 3,000 projects, 40% of which will be allocated to women, will be funded and are expected to generate nearly 13,000 employment opportunities for Kenyan youths,” KFED said.

The fund says on its website that it has disbursed loans amounting to 40.8 billion shillings (AED1.32 billion).

He said earlier that he would help finance, train and connect Kenyan small and medium enterprises with investors.

Raising seed capital and accessing markets are among the biggest challenges for budding Kenyan entrepreneurs, with banks demanding collateral that most do not have, a previous study has shown.

The Kenyan Youth Enterprise Development Fund was established in 2006 to provide loans to youth-owned businesses.

“The Khalifa Fund for Business Development and the Ministry of National Treasury and Planning of the Republic of Kenya have signed a financing agreement of 110 million dirhams (30 million dollars) to empower the Business Development Fund of the young Kenyans,” KFED said in a statement.

“Signed in the presence of President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya by Alia Al Mazrouei, CEO of KFED, and Ukur Kanacho Yatani, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of National Treasury and Planning, the agreement aims to promote entrepreneurship and develop Small and Medium Enterprises in Kenya”.

The Khalifa Fund was established by the Abu Dhabi government with a total capital of 61.9 billion shillings ($545 million) in 2007.

“We aim to support the efforts of the Kenyan government to achieve economic development by strengthening the SME sector and spreading the culture of entrepreneurship among the youth and the empowerment of women,” said KFED Director General Alia Al Mazrouei.

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