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Kenya’s business leaders looking west for more opportunities

By Nicholas Norbrook
Posted on Monday, 1 March 2021 15:37

Kenya's opposition leader Raila Odinga of the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition flanked by Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta (L) address a news conference after meeting at the Harambee house office in Nairobi - REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Pop quiz: Who was the only foreign head of state present at the inauguration of President Félix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2019?

Answer: Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta. Kenya is trying to enter the 85-million-consumer-strong regional market that lies to its west, and it is easy to see why. While the DRC’s GDP was in single digit billions early this century, last year it hit $50bn. The ‘peace dividend’ after years of conflict is there for the harvesting.

Equity Bank chief James Mwangi is the poster child for Kenyan expansion into the DRC, having bought two banks: ProCredit and BCDC.