Kenya is in the process of amending immigration laws to make it easier for wealthy foreign investors to acquire Kenyan citizenship.
Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest) says it is currently drafting legal changes to lower the threshold required for deep-pocketed foreign investors to get citizenship in Kenya.
KenInvest sees giving second citizenship to rich foreign investors whose businesses create new employment opportunities and increase export earnings as a way of growing the country’s foreign direct investment (FDI) flows.
“Listening to key policymakers, there’s really no opposition to it. What is required now is that there has to be a proper paper that will go to the Ministry of Interior so that it can now sponsor it, together with the Treasury, to go to the Cabinet,” said KenInvest managing director Moses Ikiara.
The existing laws require a foreign national to continuously live in Kenya for a minimum of seven years to qualify for citizenship by registration.
KenInvest is working with the Kenya Law Reform Commission in formulating the amendments that will act as non-monetary incentives to foreign investors.
Ikiara said the move has received the backing of the Nairobi International Financial Centre Authority, an entity created under the Treasury to lead efforts to establish the Kenyan capital as a regional financial hub.
“At our level, because we feel we can’t wait for other agencies to push, we are now pushing ahead (with draft legal changes) because we are agreeing with some of the key agencies,” he said.