San Francisco, CA – Kenyan President William Ruto addressed leading U.S. technology companies and investors Friday at a U.S.-Kenya Business Roadshow in San Francisco organized by the U.S. Government’s Prosper Africa initiative and the U.S. Embassy in Kenya.
The roadshow highlighted the business and investment potential in Kenya’s booming tech sector. Participating U.S. companies included Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, Kyosk, SunCulture, and more.
The event, held at the Mission Bay Conference Center, was part of a three-city U.S.-Kenya Roadshow tour showcasing opportunities for companies exploring doing business and investing in Kenya. The U.S. roadshow launched on April 25 in New York City with a focus on the apparel sector, then traveled to Chicago on September 13 to highlight agri-business, and concluded this week in San Francisco. Each stop featured a mix of panel discussions, business matchmaking, and networking.
Dubbed the Silicon Savannah, Kenya has built a bustling tech sector and has the opportunity to position itself as the premier destination for tech sector investment and innovation in Africa.
“Nairobi also has a vibrant technology community known as the Silicon Savannah and the Kenyan government is committed to establishing Nairobi as the premier destination for tech sector investment and innovation in Africa,” said U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman. “These are many of the reasons why global businesses are considering, or should consider, Africa – and specifically Kenya – for trade and investment opportunities.”
The technology ecosystem in Kenya is already thriving, with one of the highest rates of venture capital investment on the continent. While venture capital flows decreased by 35 percent globally last year, total funding in Africa actually increased by 8 percent. In Kenya, investment increased by 33 percent, one of the highest growth rates on the continent.
At last December’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, a new Presidential initiative – Digital Transformation with Africa – was announced. Delivering on commitments made at the Summit under this initiative, Prosper Africa launched the Africa Tech for Trade Alliance to accelerate e-commerce and digital trade and address legal, regulatory, and logistical bottlenecks. Alliance members include world class tech companies such as Cisco, Amazon, Google, Intel, Mastercard, Visa, and Paypal. Several Alliance members were in attendance at the event.
Prosper Africa Coordinator British A. Robinson announced a new co-investment with Semiconductor Technologies Limited (STL), a Kenya-based semiconductor manufacturing and nanotechnology company, valued at $1 million, to build 15 semiconductor tools for domestic sales and export by 2026, and expand the number of Kenyan engineers and skilled technicians.
“Through Africa’s digital transformation, we are seeing new markets opening up for U.S. exports and services, and new partnerships forming among African governments, the U.S. private sector, educational institutions, and the African diaspora,” said Robinson. “These transformations are building an inclusive and resilient African digital ecosystem, leading to increased productivity, competitiveness, and service delivery.”
The new co-investment builds on the $55 million in apparel-focused deals announced at the inaugural U.S.-Kenya Business Roadshow in New York City and $12.8 million in agriculture-focused deals in Kenya’s agriculture sector. These deals demonstrate the United States’ commitment to strengthen the economic partnership with Kenya.