Kenya dangles 'citizenship carrot' to investors with deep pockets as it moves to increase direct foreign investment into the country

CS Joe Mucheru, Mukhisa Kituyi, President Uhuru Kenyatta, Entrepreneur Jack Ma and CS Adan Mohamed at State House, Nairobi Kenya.
  • On Wednesday, Kenya Investment Authority said they are developing a framework to ensure the vetting is watertight and free from abuse.
  • The plan to gift such investors with a permanent residence status after vetting is an equivalent of US’s Green Card.
  • The proposal is part of targeted interventions the country intends to implement under its first ever investment policy, unveiled on Wednesday.

Wealthy investors may soon be offered Kenyan citizenship in a bid to increase direct foreign investment (FDI) into the country.

On Wednesday,Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest), the country’s investment promotion agency said it was mulling giving citizenship to wealthy investors in a new push to promote FDI inflows.

Moses Ikiara, KenInvest managing director, said the agency held “positive discussions” with Interior Secretary Fred Matiang’i with a view to developing a framework to ensure the vetting is watertight and free from abuse.

“If somebody has created impact and you can see the jobs created why don’t we extend an incentive to them and say we invite to be our citizen in three, two years,” Dr Ikiara said. 

“Giving incentives to those people with a lot of money could be among the non-monetary incentives.”

Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest) defended the proposal arguing that the plan to gift such investors with a permanent residence status after vetting, is an equivalent of US’s Green Card.

High net worth investors, whose enterprises are appraised to have high impact on new jobs and exports earnings, will be allowed to automatically apply for citizenship, under the new proposals.

Currently. Immigration laws require a foreigner to continuously live in the country for at least seven years to qualify for citizenship by registration.

Under the new framework, investors will be offered conditional incentives tailored at unique needs of their respective sectors, including land banks in partnership with the county governments.

“This is the key document that contains the policy that brings certainty and stability in terms of investment environment,” Industry and Trade Secretary Peter Munya said, Business Daily reported.

The proposal is part of targeted interventions the country intends to implement under its first ever investment policy, unveiled on Wednesday, nearly five years since its formulation started.

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