Kenya's President William Ruto has invited American technology companies to set up regional offices in Kenya, saying the country was ready for investments.    

Ruto was speaking at an event organised as part of the US-Kenya Business Roadshow in San Francisco where he met CEOs Tim Cook of Apple, Patrick Gelsinger of Intel, Ruth Porat the CFO of Google's parent Alphabet and Microsoft's COO Brad Smith.    

The event was part of a three-city US-Kenya Roadshow tour of New York, Chicago and San Francisco. Ruto also met Nike, GAP and Levi Strauss executives.

“Kenya is a full package investment destination; economically stable, entrepreneurial, secure, innovative with a favourable tax environment, skilled labour force,” a statement from his office said.     

Kenya has a pro-business tax regime and had upgraded its data protection regulations in line with global standards, he said at the event broadcast live on YouTube. 

The cost of doing business in Kenya could increase however after Ruto's administration passed the Finance Act of 2023, which introduced a new Digital Assets Tax of 3% targeting tech companies.    

Ruto said there were plans between Apple and Kenya's telecoms firm Safaricom to expand the mobile company's cash transfer money platform M-Pesa globally but gave no further details.    

US Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman said at the event that Kenya is a key destination for foreign direct investment and venture capital.

Several executives expressed interest in investing in Kenya during the event, the statement said. 

Apple's CEO Cook said the company will consider setting up a developer’s academy. 

Microsoft's COO Smith said Kenya was an appealing destination for American venture capital. 

Alphabet's Porat said Google had committed to investing $1 billion in Africa to bolster its digital training and innovation initiatives.    

Visa Global President Oliver Jenkyn said the company had pledged last year to invest $1 in Africa over the next five years, with a large portion of that going to Kenya - the only African country to host Visa’s global digital innovation studio. 

(Editing by Seban Scaria