Kenyan President on a “charm offensive” in Silicon Valley

The Kenyan Head of State toured the American giants in Silicon Valley, over the weekend, where he met senior executives from Apple, Intel, Google and Microsoft, among others. On X (formerly Twitter), he called on companies to set up in Kenya.

Kenya’s presidential communications department has taken it on board: it was a “charm offensive” that President William Ruto undertook in California. In front of the tech giants, he extolled Kenya’s strengths: a stable country, a skilled workforce, green energies and high cell phone and Internet penetration. As an example, he cited the success of M-pesa, the mobile payment system.

Above all, the Kenyan Head of state promised a business-friendly economic environment. Yet, his Government has just doubled a tax on digital services. Rising from 1.5% to 3%, it targets all those who profit from Internet services, including the digital giants.

This visit is part of the Kenyan President’s plan to strengthen Kenya’s position as a technology hub on the African continent. Several American giants have already set up operations here, including Microsoft, which has established a research and development center in Nairobi. Others may follow. William Ruto obtained several promises during his tour of Silicon Valley. According to the Kenyan presidency, Apple is considering setting up a developer academy in the country.