PUBLISHED ON December 8th, 2014

US audit firm’s Sh200m plan to deepen business in EAC

A global audit, tax and advisory firm will spend about Sh200 million to deepen its presence in the East African Community (EAC) market in the next one year.

The US-based Grant Thornton International Ltd, already with offices in Kenya, said it will soon open offices in Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda to assist investors set up business in the region.

The firm’s Business Development and Markets Global Leader Gernot Hebestreit said the announcement is informed by the increased local and international investments in the region, mainly Kenya.

Hebestreit noted that the region is receiving a lot of attention from foreign investors – prompting them to set up more offices as well as employ quality human resources to offer logistics services.

During the launch the East African Advisory Services Initiative in Nairobi, Hebestreit observed that bureaucracy and red-tape, though these have diminished lately, are still among the key challenges scaring away potential investors. The initiative will handle consultancy and advisory services for clients seeking to expand across the EAC region. “We have a lot of faith in the fast-growing economy of Kenya and EAC and that is why we are expanding our footprint in the region,” said Mr Hebestreit. He, however, noted that the investment climate in Kenya and the region continues to be haunted by corruption, infrastructure and high cost of power.

Investment climate

Hebestreit said investors will be assisted to register their businesses as well as deepen their understanding of the region’s investment climate. “Our focus is to offer a one-stop shop for investors coming into the region. We will assist them on how to register their businesses, learn about the investment climate in the region as well as enhance their interaction with governments,” said Grant Thornton’s Chief Operating Officer, Kenya office, Kunal Ajmera. Ajmera said the EAC region is one of the fastest growing economic blocks globally and serves well as an opportunity for countries to showcase their investment opportunities available.

“Nairobi is the investment hub of choice when it comes to the finance industry, an opportunity that has seen international firms seek to set up shop here even as they expand,” said Grant Thornton Kenya Managing Partner Kamal Shah.

Source: The Standard

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