Date posted: February 25, 2011
MWAKERA MWAJEFA [email protected] and MAZERA NDURYA
Turkish investors have set their sights on the Kenyan education sector following the success story of a chain of schools in Nairobi and Mombasa.
The four schools, operating under the Light Academy brand, were set up by Turkish businessmen to cater for Kenya’s fast-growing middle class.
The businessmen now plan to establish one more school in Kisumu and a private university.
More than 200 Turkish investors have in the past month visited Nairobi and Mombasa to explore business opportunities.
A representative of the investors, Mr Nejdet Ozer, from the textile rich city of Idenizli, told the Nation in Mombasa that Kenya had unexploited business opportunities.
“The Light Academy schools in Nairobi and Mombasa are some of the projects that show how keen Turkey is in having a bigger presence in Kenya.
“However, we are also looking at investment opportunities in enterprises with the best infrastructure and environment,” he said.
Mr Ozer said Kenya’s position as a regional hub made it attractive for investment, noting that the good relations between the two countries would be an added advantage.
Turkey’s presence is already being felt in real estate through investment in prefabricated houses, the transport and clothing sectors.
In the education sector, Turkish businesspeople have invested more than Sh810 million and this is set to rise when they build a private university “soon”.
Turkish ambassador to Kenya Tuncer Kayalar said investment in Kenya was aimed at promoting bilateral trade.
“Kenya is a fast developing economy and we feel proud to participate in the process of turning round its economy to a middle income one,” he said at the opening of Light Academy in Mombasa at the weekend. The occasion was attended by Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
“Education is a multilateral aspect that should be used to connect people all over the globe,” he said, adding that Light Academy schools offered local and international syllabuses.
Mr Odinga urged investors to take advantage of Kenya’s attractive business climate.
“You can bring your capital and take it out whenever you want,” he said, adding the government had removed all restrictions on foreign exchange.
“Our banking sector is one of the fastest growing in Africa and that is why many banks are bringing their money into our country, into our economy.”
He said Kenya was now a more liberalised economy than South Africa and urged the international community to invest more.
Source: Daily Nation , February 22 2011