JPMorgan sets up regional office in Nairobi

American financial titan JPMorgan Chase is set to open a regional office in Kenya a decade after the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) issued the organization with an approval in principle.

CBK initially acknowledged receipt of JPMorgan’s representative office application in the  Annual Bank Supervision Report for 2012 before issuing authorization the following year.

“Receipt and processing of three new applications for representative Office authorization from the Central Bank of India Ltd of India, Bank of Kigali of Rwanda and JPMorgan Chase N.A. of the USA. The three applicants had been granted approval-in-principle by the end of 2012, and processing for final authorization was at [an] advanced stage,” read the Bank Supervision Report from 2012. 

On Tuesday, President William Ruto hosted the bank’s delegation led by vice-chairman and global head of JPMorgan public sector group Daniel Zelikow. The US-based financial institution plans to use Nairobi office to engage in business deals from across the region by taking on international rivals such as Citigroup.

“The bold decision by JPMorgan—one of the world’s leading financial services firms—to set up a regional office in Nairobi is a vote for Kenya’s emerging success in the global marketplace.

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“We welcome the firm’s expertise in environmental risks that will help Kenya to confront the climate change crisis sustainably,” Dr Ruto added.

JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon intimated plans to establish African operations, starting with branches in Kenya and Ghana in 2020. “You’ll see us open in some countries we are not in; in Africa, you’ll be hearing some of that stuff,” Mr Dimon told Bloomberg.

JPMorgan joins a growing list of Fortune 500 companies opting to set their headquarters for their African operations in Kenya’s capital, following the trend set by other American multinationals such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.

Google chose Nairobi for its first product development center on the continent, while Microsoft put up an engineering hub dubbed the African Development Centre (ADC) at the cost of $27 million.

Amazon Web Services plans to establish a local zone in the country, with Elon Musk’s Starlink also expected to stir up the internet industry when it goes online in the coming months.

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