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World Bank to help Kenyan firms increase their African presence

30 August 2014, 16:28

Nairobi - The World Bank's political risk insurance and credit enhancement arm on Friday said it will help Kenyan firms to expand their African presence.

Visiting Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) Vice President Michel Wormser told journalists in Nairobi that his institution is ready to provide investment guarantees in order to facilitate cross-border investments.

"We ease investments into countries which have high perceived political risk," Wormser said at the end of his two-day tour to Kenya.

During his mission in Kenya, he held talks with government officials on the ways to upscale MIGA's portfolio in Kenya.

Wormser said his firm has guarantees amounting to 280 million U. S. dollars currently in place in Kenya.

"Most of them are in the energy sector but we are looking to expand into the infrastructure and agro processing industries," he said. MIGA has investments guarantees in the agro-processing sectors of Tanzania and Zambia.

"We are hoping to do the same in Kenya, in order to expand rural based industries," he said.

Wormser, who is also MIGA's Chief Operating Officer, said that Kenya's current economic growth is not sufficient to create enough jobs to absorb all those who enter the labor market.

He added foreign direct investment will help accelerate Kenya's growth to the desired 10 percent annual rate.

"MIGA is ready to assist foreign investors set up shop in Kenya by reducing the perception of political risk," he said. According to the vice president, Kenya's infrastructure needs are very high.

"However government resources are not sufficient to meet the demand and this calls for public private partnerships," he said.

Wormser said there is increased demand for the mitigation of risk in countries in Africa.

"In fact, the continent accounts for 30 percent of MIGA's global exposure," he added.

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