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Kenya’s President William Ruto Woos US Tech Companies

Kenya’s president William Ruto is wooing American tech companies, promising a business-friendly environment in spite of the fact that his country has raised taxes on businesses.

Ruto made the appeal while speaking with leading U.S. technology companies and investors in San Francisco, where he highlighted investment opportunities in his country.

He said, “For the sake of stability, we have a tax code that is simple to enforce, consistent, fair and predictable, one that won’t change in the next three years.”

He insisted that they eliminated value-added tax on exported services and the tax on stock-based compensation for employees of startups, as well as the domestic equity requirement for ICT companies.

Ruto said his country was positioning itself as “Africa’s business process outsourcing and creative economy hub,” citing internet penetration and a growing workforce.

However Analysts say that his government’s newly imposed and also several proposed taxes will increase the cost of doing business in Kenya, including in the tech sector.

Ruto’s administration in its first budget this year doubled the digital service tax to 3%, targeting foreign tech giants that use the internet to market and sell products.

The government had projected it would rake in billions in the local currency, the Kenyan shilling, from the doubled digital services tax, but critics warned it would discourage tech investors.

Kenya has in the past been accused of not tightening labor laws to prevent the exploitation of employees by tech companies such as Meta who were sued by former employees over poor working conditions and accused of paying low wages to content moderators.

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