Kenya’s new government, which came into power in late 2002, is touting housing development as a major aim of its economic development focus, according to Stephen Seda, president of Atlanta‘s East AfricanAmerican Business Council, who met with government officials in Kenya earlier this month.

The administration is also seeking companies providing processing services to the country’s traditional coffee, tea and horticulture export sectors, he told GlobalFax in an interview last week.

The government aims to build 150,000 homes, mostly apartments and single-family units, over the next few years and is eager to attract U.S. firms to be involved in the development, said Mr. Seda.  Over the past decade, housing development in the country has been severely neglected, which has led to a serious shortage in affordable homes to house the population influx to Kenya’s urban areas, he explained.

Incentives for U.S. firms that develop housing infrastructure in Kenya include land, tax breaks and related infrastructure development, such as road improvements for the area in which the company chooses to build, he said.

On the export side, attracting firms that offer value-added services to coffee and tea producers – for example, firms that roast and package coffee – speaks to the goal of the Kenyan government to develop the country into more than simply a raw materials exporter, Mr. Seda noted.

He added that reform efforts by the government have also succeeded in relaxing the licensing regulations for television and radio stations, and have opened the telecommunications sector, formerly under government control, to private sector business.

The cotton industry also continues to develop, though expertise and equipment are needed in its farming, ginning and processing, he said.

            The initiatives in these sectors are also being developed regionally through the East African Community, a trade and development pact between Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

Mr. Seda, a Kenya native based in Atlanta, travels to

East Africa several times a year with U.S. business delegations interested in meeting with private companies and government ministries there.  In August, he accompanied 95 members of Atlanta’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church to Kenya on a tourism and business mission.  

            For additional information, contact Mr. Seda at (404) 277-4528.  For information about the 4th East African Trade and Investment Summit, to be held in May 2004 in Atlanta, visit