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United States pension fund managers pledge
further investments in Kenyan infrastructure

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- More than 30 representatives of U.S. pension and assets management funds said on Monday they plan to channel capital towards development of critical infrastructure in Kenya.

The senior executives who manage assets worth about 100 trillion Kenyan shillings (about 1 trillion U.S. dollars) said they are keen to invest in roads, water, sanitation and housing projects to help realize socio-economic transformation in Kenya.

"By moving from traditional investments in stocks and bonds to new opportunities in Kenyan roads, power plant and enterprises, Kenyan and U.S. pension funds will strengthen commercial ties between our two countries," said Kyle McCarter, the U.S. ambassador to Kenya.

"These investments will benefit both countries and enhance the economic security of Kenyan and American retirees," he added.

Kenyan and U.S. pension fund managers are meeting in Nairobi from April 1 to 3 to explore investment opportunities in the East African Nation’s infrastructure.

The U.S. Agency for International Development has partnered with the World Bank, UN Economic Commission for Africa and Kenya Pension Fund Investment Consortium to organize the high-level forum to discuss bankable projects that would bridge Kenya’s infrastructure gap.

Carlos Felipe Jaramillo, World Bank Country Director for Kenya, Eritrea, Rwanda and Uganda, said that creative harnessing of pension funds is key to bridging Kenya’s infrastructure financing gap estimated at 4 billion U.S. dollars.

"A partnership between Kenya and U.S. institutional investors is key to finance development of infrastructure whose benefits include poverty reduction and job creation," said Jaramillo.

He said that Kenya can tap into local and foreign pension funds to invest in projects aligned with the country’s socio-economic development blue print.

Donna Sims Wilson, president of Smith Graham Investments and chair of Washington-based National Association of Securities Professionals, said that U.S. pension fund managers are keen to invest in Kenya’s infrastructure subject to a predicable regulatory environment.

"We are discussing with local partners like government managed pension funds to facilitate investments in power, water and transportation," said Wilson.

Nzomo Mutuku, CEO of Kenya’s Retirement Benefits Authority, said that investments in infrastructure has gained traction among local and foreign pension fund managers since they are guaranteed of long-term financial rewards.



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