Oct 05, 2023 Real Estate Investing

Viable Investment Options for Kenyans

Our education system cannot be credited for financial literacy, so some people exit the chat when the word investment comes up. Why? Mainly because they believe the conversation to be above their pay grade since it may involve millions of shillings they may not have. For them, it’s always a conversation for another day.

One of the beauties of being alive today is the overflow of information that lets anyone interested know there is hope… yet. For instance, you don’t need to own the whole building when you can pool resources with like-minded investors to share in the monthly or annual spoils. Or… you can always incorporate a company, pool resources with your boys and girls instead of spending it all on sherehe, and buy a niiiice 50 by 100ft property in Kamangu, Nachu, for only 999,000. What a time to be alive, right? 

Now, let’s look into some investment options. Quick note: Some may require a relatively high initial capital outlay.


This non-renewable resource reigns supreme when most people think of investment, and it’s the gift that keeps giving, whether you choose to add value to it or hold to sell in the future. A checklist for the ideal piece includes location, type of land, due diligence so you don’t buy riparian land that nature will reclaim, and title deed, among other significant matters.

There are options for buying land where you can choose an agricultural or commercial piece or go for smaller (sometimes cheaper) serviced plots for residential development. What makes land low-risk? Steady appreciation over time that allows you to hold and sell later for capital gains. 

Money Market Funds - MMFs

Money Market Funds are pooled funds invested in short-term securities and financial instruments. The typical returns rival government treasury bills and bonds (the 90-day t-bond is the benchmark), and you can withdraw your investment whenever you want unless you opt for a fixed-income account with a 3-month vesting period. So, you can put your money away here instead of prepaying your quarterly bills and then recall it in batches as your bills become due.

Most MMF deposits start as low as Kes. 5,000 and are subject to a 15% final withholding tax. The most popular companies offering MMFs in Kenya are Kuza, Zimele, CIC, and top commercial banks. Naturally, it helps to do your due diligence and compare interest rates.


Real Estate Investment Trusts are pools of funds that allow investors to invest in real estate without owning or managing properties. There are two types: equity and mortgage REITs. Equity REITs invest in properties generating rental income, while mortgage REITs allow you to invest in mortgages and other loans to develop commercial or residential properties.

The Capital Markets Authority regulates REITs and protects investors by demanding that these companies distribute at least 90% of their net income as dividends. They’re also mandated to hold a significant chunk of their assets in real estate. Like shares, you can invest in REITs through a commercial bank or the NSE, a broker, or a mutual fund offering the product. The returns are currently between 8 and 12%, and the gains are taxed accordingly.

Stocks and Commercial Papers

Stocks allow you to buy into a small part of a company in exchange for annual dividends from the share of profits. You get capital gains at market value when you sell your shares and pay a final withholding tax. Stocks are speculative and quite risky since their prices are driven by verified and unverified information in the open market, but they return better than most options when you get them right. Cue Warren E. Buffett.

Commercial Papers or Corporate Bonds

When blue-chip companies (typically financially sound publicly-traded companies of good repute) are short of funds for short-term liabilities like payroll, accounts payable, and inventories, they seek unsecured loans called commercial papers from the public. These companies, e.g., Safaricom, EABL, and Equity Bank, are expected to be good for it, so the public usually has no qualms about lending to them. Now, it is worth noting CPs aren’t necessarily low-risk even though they are backed by the drawer’s books of accounts. 

The drawer usually determines the returns, but they are typically better than those from treasury bills and bonds. Again, it’s not always rosy. Companies such as Chase Bank, Imperial Bank, Arthi River Mining, and Nakumatt have collapsed and taken millions of investor funds down, so it helps to look widely into a company’s financial health and management before investing.


Now, this one’s for the patient and resilient. The export market for such crops as avocados, watermelons, strawberries, pixie oranges, and horticultural crops has dedicated gatekeepers, but we luckily live in the era of information overload. If you’re keen on attending conferences where these issues are discussed – information is shared in pages on X and other socials - you could be on your way to becoming the next agri-preneur. This might require a larger initial outlay than most, but remember, agricultural land is cheaper than its commercial counterpart – just ask Pro-Property, who, by the way, does the heavy lifting like sourcing for land.

The Future Started Yesterday

Fact: If you save your money in a fixed deposit account instead of investing it, you expose your capital to inflation. No amount is too little, as the market ensures something for everyone, so start already if you haven’t. Did you know you can pay for a prime serviced 50*100 plot in installments? Check this for more details.