Nairobi has become the entry point to the continent for international brands

Why Nairobi has become a haven for global firms

A number of International brands are making there way into the continent through Nairobi.

In less than five years, French retailer Carrefour, Chinese construction firm Avic International Holdings and now Lebanese SABIS International School among others have entered the Kenyan market as part of expansion into the greater African region.

This is despite the higher cost of living in the country which according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics stood at an average 8.02 in 2017.

SABIS president Carl Bistany said that having conducted research, since 2014, on potential regions in Africa to set up operations, they found that Nairobi was the most strategic position to pilot business in Africa.

“Of course we have our scouts and team which does lengthy researches supported with statistics and Nairobi has always been on top of the chart whenever this is done, we have studied the risks, the expected turnover, the target market and we are convinced it will be a success,” Bistany said.

This was reiterated by the Africa director for Chinese construction giant AVIC International Holding Corporation Huang Hong adding that Kenya has a conducive business environment. AVIC is currently setting up its headquarter in Nairobi.

Hong said the country further had an expansion capacity as it remains highly under-utilised in resources and manpower.

Nairobi has also attracted investors through political and social tranquility, this according to Centum Investment chief executive officer James Mworia.

“We might have some political discourse in the country but we are much stable and welcoming than most of the countries in the continent,” he said.

Mworia said in establishing the clientèle, the brands were looking more than just within the country but also high-end clients from countries experiencing instability in the region and seeking world-class services.

However, the effect of the city becoming a regional hub may have an effect on low income households.

The cost of living in Nairobi in the last 10 years has greatly gone up hard hitting low income earners.

According to financial analyst Mike Mute, in a few years the city will be unbearable for low income earners forcing them to move into areas or counties near the city.

“Look at estates that previously did not have big establishments like Ruaka and Thika road when the malls sprouted and the road infrastructure housing went up and some people moved out to further places like Kiambu,” Mute said.

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