By Sharon Chweya
Kenya has continued to make impressive progress in strengthening the investment climate, with the objective of making the country a regional industrial and financial hub.
The country improved significantly in its ranking in the World Bank Doing Business 2019 Indicators moving 19 places to position 61 from 80 out of 190 countries in 2017.
Investments have expanded in the country, principally in the finance, insurance, trade, manufacturing, communication, and education industries.
In order to support economic policymaking and to monitor risks that may arise from these investments, the collection of reliable and timely data is important. Results from the foreign investment surveys will be integrated into the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position (IIP) statistics. The Foreign Investment Survey (FIS) 2018 is the fifth in the series since the launch of the surveys in 2010.
The survey captured data on foreign capital stocks and flows for the period 2016 and 2017. A total of 740 enterprises were targeted during FIS 2018, with a response rate of 74.6 percent compared to 72.8 percent recorded in the FIS 2016.
The stock of foreign liabilities increased by 4.9 percent to Ksh.1.381 million in the fiscal year 2017. The total foreign liability inflow from 343.180 million shillings to 425.597 million shillings in 2017, a 24 percent increase margin.
The United Kingdom (15.8 percent), South Africa(12.4 percent), United States(11.6 percent), France(5.8 percent) and Mauritius (4.9 percent) were the major sources of foreign liabilities in 2017.
The survey also set to ascertain factors that attract investment and the challenges of doing business in the country. Ease of doing business, economic and political stability and market access were the key factors driving business in 2018.
More than 50 percent of respondents indicated an intention to expand investments in the country in the next three fiscal years, while 39.9 percent intend to maintain the current investment level.
The survey results further show that 69 percent of the respondents intend to expand investments in the form of extension of capital, 20.3% would venture into greenfield investment while 10.8 percent would expand through mergers and acquisitions.
The enterprises intending to expand through mergers and acquisitions, greenfield investment and extension of capital preferred domestic funding to foreign funding.