American energy company, SkyPower, has announced that it would double the $2.2 billion it agreed to invest in Kenya to develop solar power to a massive $4.4 billion (more than Ksh450 billion).
The announcement was made today when President Uhuru Kenyatta attended a breakfast meeting hosted for him by the Business Council for International Understanding in New York.
The Chief Executive Officer of Skypower Global, Mr Kerry Addler, also announced that the company will invest huge sums of money to set up a research laboratory in Kenya to advance solar energy.
He announced that the company decided to double its investments and to also donate 3600 solar street lamps to Kenya to show appreciation for the professionalism the Government has shown in making Kenya business friendly.
“We are impressed by how the Government has conducted itself in a professional and pro-business manner and we are committed to increase our investment in Kenya,” he said.
Skypower signed the first agreement to invest $2.2 billion in solar energy at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2015 as part of its response to US President Barack Obama’s advocacy for closer business relations between America and Africa.
The signing of the agreement was then witnessed by President Kenyatta and President Obama in Nairobi.
Speaking at today’s meeting, President Kenyatta said the business partnership between Kenya and the US has scaled up after President Obama’s visit to Kenya.
President Kenyatta told the meeting attended by the CEOs of more than 50 major companies that Kenya has achieved tremendous improvements in the business environment since last year after he held meetings with US business leaders.
He said the Government has enacted several legislations including the Companies Act, the Insolvency Act and a new law on business regulations to make Kenya more open for investment.
The President said the Government has adopted a policy to focus on managing and improving power distribution while facilitating private operators to play the lead role in energy production.
The Head of State said the government will guarantee purchase of power generated by private operators and it will concentrate on improving the distribution networks to increase connectivity.
The President said opportunities for American firms were massive in Kenya and the wider East African region.
He said Kenya and Uganda have finally settled on the route the LAPSSET project and private investors should gear up to take advantage of the opportunities.
“The environment for doing business is changing and there are huge opportunities for US companies to get a foothold in Kenya. It is a case of put in your foot first,” said the President.
Cabinet Secretaries Amina Mohamed (Foreign Affairs) and James Macharia (Health) addressed the meeting.