Deals valued at multimillions of dollars were signed including one for $2.2 billion for the development of solar power in the east African country.
SkyPower, an official Solar Energy conference partner and one of the largest developers and operators of utility-scale solar photovoltaic energy projects, announced the landmark agreement with the Kenyan Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, to be built over the next five years.
SkyPower, owned by the Los Angeles-based real estate investment firm CIM Group, carries a quote on its website: “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power!” (Thomas Edison).
The conference also produced a commitment of centers in Kenya, Mali and Zambia to support women entrepreneurs. Announcing the development, Pres. Obama revealed that private investors had contributed $100 million to boost the fund. “Women are powerhouse entrepreneurs,” Obama observed. “Research shows that they drive economic growth and they invest more back in their families and communities.”
Other funding commitments came from the Overseas Private Investment Coporation (OPIC) to enable lending by Kenya’s Equity Bank Group in the amount of 450 million dollars, with a focus on youth and women, to small and medium enterprises.
The Portfolio for Impact program, a two year, 50 million dollar pilot program supporting smaller earlier stage companies that generate positive social impact.
USAID will provide a 25 million loan portfolio guarantee to support Deutsche Banks $50 million Essential Capital Corsortium Fund.
Additional new lending is pledged by Chase Bank Kenya, Village Capital, the Dept. of State, Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, among others.
Citi, Ernst & Young, General Electric, Rendeavour, Google and IBM have already stepped forward with long term financial commitments for the project.
The firms have till 2017 to make private investments that will go towards supporting emerging entrepreneurs in starting and scaling up their firms.
Meanwhile, Kenyan billionaire Chris Kirubi vented frustration with CNN for calling Kenya “a hotbed of terror.” “I like to give that channel that is displaying negativeness about Kenya a red card: they deserve to be condemned for their agenda,” he said. A Twitter hashtag was spontaneously created in agreement, called #SomeoneTellCNN
On the contrary, Kirubi said, Kenya is a “hotbed of investments”, especially now that the world is coming to the East African country.