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Converting Nairobi into a Financial Hub

Kenyan and British officials have signed a deal to boost investment in the Kenyan capital. The goal of the co-operation agreement, which officials have said could result in at least $2bn worth of deals during the next five years, is to help funnel international investment into Kenya and east Africa more broadly. This should over time enable Nairobi to compete with Dubai, as a conduit for trade in the region. The deal includes closer links between the London and Nairobi stock exchanges, as well as moves to ease incorporation and registration of companies in Kenya, east Africa’s economic powerhouse. British insurer Prudential, which has grown rapidly in Africa, where it has 1.2m customers in eight countries, is the first non-African company to set up its regional head office in Nairobi under the new arrangements. Kenyan mining company Mayflower Gold has also announced plans to dual list its shares on both the London and Nairobi stock exchanges in a deal worth £14m. The agreement, which kicks off Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta’s three-day visit to the UK, could further bolster economic ties between the two countries. In March this year, Kenya and the UK ratified a trade agreement signed last December — one of more than a dozen deals inked during the Brexit transition period — with Britain saying it would help to boost the £1.4bn in mutual trade.