PRESIDENT RUTO LEADS GLOBAL INVESTOR DINNER CONVENED BY EQUITY GROUP TO DELIBERATE ON OPPORTUNITIES IN GREEN BUSINESSES

Equity Group Managing Director and CEO Dr. James Mwangi (Left) and Cabinet Secretary for Investment, Trade and Industry Rebecca Miano welcome the President of the Republic of Kenya, Dr. William Ruto (right) to the Africa Green Industrialization dinner.
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President William Ruto addressed global investors at a dinner on the sidelines of COP 28 in Dubai. This is after presiding over the launch of the Africa Green Industrialization Initiative (AGII). The president who serves as the Chair of the Africa Union’s Climate Council urged investors to make Kenya their choice investment gateway to Africa.

The dinner was co-hosted by the Government of Kenya and Equity Group Holdings . There was a   dynamic interactive discussion on why investors should make Kenya their choice investment gateway. Earlier this year , the president chaired the inaugural Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi.

 He was accompanied by Cabinet Secretaries Prof. Njuguna Ndung’u of the National Treasury, Mrs. Rebecca Miano of Investments, Trade and Industry, Mr. Davis Chirchir of Energy and Petroleum, Adan Mohammed, Presidential Advisor for Strategy Execution  and Ali Mohamed, Envoy for Environmental Policy, Office of the President.

Investment gateway to Africa

Speaking at the dinner, the president said Kenya was committed to ensuring a conducive investment environment. The country has put in place the right investment frameworks for global engagement especially in manufacturing and logistics, he added.

He expounded on how Kenya provides a gateway to market access of over  three hundred   million people in East Africa through the East Africa Community (EAC). In addition to the five hundred  million people in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and 1.3 billion in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA).

The dinner event followed on the heels of the launch of the Africa Green Industrialization Initiative (AGII) at COP 28 in Dubai. AGII has a goal of growing industrialization on the continent in a green and clean way. It aims to attract green businesses across a swath of sectors.

Additionally, it seeks to promote climate change mitigation and adaptation while driving significant economic growth and job creation in Africa. Earlier, while speaking at AGII launch, President Ruto said: “It marks a huge stride towards the realisation of the Nairobi Declaration which was adopted at the Nairobi Climate Summit.” He noted that the declaration will further catalyse the private sector-led scale-up of green industries.

Natural Capital

The dinner conversation focused on what Kenya needs to do to attract green industrialization projects and green businesses. Dr. James Mwangi who had mobilised global investors and CEOs to the dinner observed: “It’s up to the private sector to deliver transformative sustainable development projects which can both support industrialization of the continent while preserving the natural capital which Africa is endowed with.”

He further emphasised that the natural capital of Africa can support the world’s goals towards a net zero vision. Africa contains  forty  percent of the critical minerals needed to power the energy transition. Almost  sixty   percent of the arable land needed to feed the world and stem food insecurity is in Africa, he said.

By building smart, Africa could offer diversified opportunities for wealth creation which will become transformative factors in the lives and livelihoods of the African people. Dr. Mwangi added that the current generation holds the world in trust for future generations. He emphasized the need for joint commitment to ensure that current activities do not compromise nature at the expense of future generations.

This comes after the Nairobi Climate Summit held early this year  where Equity Group Holding led the private sector in developing and adopting the Africa Private Sector Declaration.

(L-R) President of the Republic of Kenya, Dr. William Ruto, World Trade Organization Director General Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Equity Group Dr. James Mwangi at the Africa Green Industrialization Dinner, which was co-hosted by The Government of Kenya alongside Equity Group, on the sidelines of COP28 in Dubai.

High-level dinner

In attendance were an integrated mix of financial leaders in global investments, funding and corporate leaders including: Blackrock, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), British International Investment (BII), Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADQ), Prosper Africa-US, Development Finance Corporation-US (DFC), US EXIM Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), European Investment Bank (EIB), International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Other stakeholders were: Gemcorp LLC, General Atlantic, Leapfrog, Summa, Carbon Fund Offset Capitol, Africa50 and African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank) among others. In addition, policy leaders from the EAC, the AfCFTA, the WTO, and the Commonwealth, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and corporate leaders from Fortescue, MASDAR, ARISE LLC, MRM Energy, Globelq, DCD Group and philanthropic capital leaders from the Children’s Investment Fund; as well as advisors to His Majesty King Charles the III were present.

Participants expressed confidence in President Ruto’s agenda of green industrialisation and the Africa opportunity. They also shared their thoughts and proposals on areas that the government could improve to attract more investors. One of them is making attractive investment policies and improving investor education about existing opportunities.

President Ruto responded by acknowledging and committing to work hand in hand with the private sector leaders to create an enabling environment for investors.

 Among those who expressed optimism on the Africa opportunities were :  Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Secretary General of World Trade Organisation WTO, Marc-Andre Blanchard, Executive Vice-President, and Head of CDPQ and Andrew Forrest, non-Executive Chairman of Fortescue Metals Group.

Possibilities

Dr. Mwangi in turn further emphasised that risks must be managed, mitigated and well understood. He said the narrative of what the world thinks about the continent must be changed. He assured investors that investment in Kenya would open their possibilities to venture into the African market and optimise the great possibilities that Africa currently offers.

 AGII aligns with the ‘Africa Recovery and Resilience Plan’ which Equity Group has developed as the framework for sustainable development in Africa. The bank is championing, along with partners such as the AfCFTA, the EAC, the Commonwealth, the United Nations in Africa and others.

Present from Equity Group Holdings with Dr. James Mwangi were: the Equity Group Board Chairman, Professor Isaac Macharia, Group Board Member Dr. Helen Gichohi and Equity Group Foundation Board Members. Other dignitaries were Ambassador Macharia Kamau, Ambassador Manoah Esipisu and Zainab Jaffer along with Equity Group’s senior management directors, who included the Group’s Director of Communications, Joy DiBenedetto and the Group Director of Sustainability, Reshma Shah.

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