Centum Investment Company Plc ‘Centum’ is the largest listed investment company in East and Central Africa. At Centum we believe that we can continue to deliver value for our shareholders and in the countries we operate in by addressing the challenges in these countries and in turn creating investment grade assets that will provide a platform for investors.
In 2014, Centum embarked on a 5 year strategy, dubbed ‘Centum 3.0’, which ran to 2019. This strategy sought to develop new standalone businesses across eight key sectors namely: Real Estate, Power, Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), Financial Services, Education, Healthcare, Agribusiness and ICT. Across the 8 sectors, the aim was to create businesses that were scalable and disruptive.
In Kenya currently, one out of every four people lives in an urban set up. Twenty years ago Kenya barely had one in every five people living in a town or city. The World Bank projects that by 2050, 40 million Kenyans, who will make up 50% of Kenya’s population by then will be living in cities and towns. Urbanization presents tremendous opportunities but also presents lots of challenges. With an ever increasing population in urban centers there needs to be a smart way of addressing these challenges.
There is a need to utilize the land resources around these cities to create places that have good infrastructure, ample water supply, electricity and have good internet connectivity. There is also a need to think out of the box and create new cities where there has been none before.
Centum has so far undertaken different projects that have improved private sector involvement in addressing these challenges. We at Centum are already ahead of the curve creating cities in Two Rivers, Vipingo and Pearl Marina. Located less than 20 Kilometers from Nairobi’s main business district, on 102 acres of land, is Two Rivers.
The project was implemented in two phases with the first phase comprising 55 acres. The aim was to create a mixed use development made up of shopping, residential and commercial areas. Part of Phase 1 involved the development of Two Rivers Lifestyle Centre which covers 10 acres and has 81,000 square meters of gross lettable area. The Two Rivers Lifestyle Centre opened in 2016 is the largest mall in Sub Saharan Africa out of South Africa. In Vipingo, off the port of Mombasa and sitting on 11,000 acres, Centum developed a city anchored around manufacturing. The goal is to create a city with the least cost of manufacturing in East and Central Africa.
Two key challenges that push up the cost of manufacturing are water and power. As part of the Vipingo project, Centum has developed a 150,000 cubic meters per day water desalination plant. This ensures that manufacturers have an ample supply of water at an affordable price. Centum has also developed a 10 Mw solar power plant that provide backup power to the entire development and run the water desalination plant. The aim is to guarantee 99% reliability on water and power for manufacturers who choose to set up at Vipingo.
Pearl Marina is located on 389 acres in Garuga, Uganda and has 1.3 Kilometers of Lake Victoria frontage. Pearl Marina is located in between Entebbe and Kampala. The goal is to create a world class resort city. Centum started the project by constructing 97 villas which were followed by other developments. As cities continue to grow, there is a need to address the challenges in Agribusiness. Most people find it difficult to invest in Agriculture in Africa since they find it risky. Our aim is to develop Greenfield assets in the Agricultural sector. We will then de-risk these assets and in turn create opportunities that investors would otherwise be comfortable investing in.
The Agribusiness sector has a direct contribution of at least 27% to Kenya’s GDP. It is also worth noting that 75% of working Kenyans work in the Agriculture sector. To gain a footing in this crucial sector, Centum has developed an export herbs business in Ol Kalou, Kenya. The aim is to gradually scale up the business while developing other opportunities in Agriculture along the protein value chain.