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Turning the Kenyan Capital into Africa’s Financial Hub

The goal of a new co-operation agreement between London and Nairobi 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. Nairobi’s advantages include political stability and good connectivity, as well as a stable exchange rate and diverse pool of talent, says Vincent Rague, a former senior adviser to the National Treasury of Kenya and the incoming chair of the board for the International Financial Centre. But for the Kenyan capital to become a hub “won’t be without challenges”, said a local banking executive, pointing to the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking, which puts Kenya behind Mauritius and Rwanda. Nairobi is also ranked behind Dubai and, in Africa, after Casablanca, Cape Town, Port Louis and Johannesburg in the latest Global Financial Centres Index.