Easy Step-By-Step Guide To Opening A CBK-CDS Account For Kenyans In Diaspora

CBK-CDS Account

Written by Agatha

February 10, 2023

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Kenyans living in the diaspora are always looking for legit ways to invest back home. One of the best and most lucrative ways to invest in Kenya is through investing in Fixed Income Securities.

CBK-CDS Account

As shown in the flow chart above, there are two types of Fixed Income Securities:

  1. Treasury Bills 
  2. Treasury Bonds 

They’re referred to as fixed-income securities because the return the investor gets is usually paid out in fixed-interest payments on fixed dates over a fixed period of time. 

For full guides on how to invest in Treasury bonds & bills, click here.

If you’re a visual learner, you can watch the video version of this article on our YouTube Channel



How To Buy Treasury Bonds and Bills In Kenya


To buy Treasury Bonds and Bills, you need a Central Depository for Securities (CDS) account maintained at the Central Bank of Kenya. 

This is different from the CDSC (Central Depository Securities Corporation) account that you need to buy equities/shares.

In the past, the process of opening a CDS account used to be easier when done from the diaspora as the  Central Bank of Kenya did not require Kenyans to submit hard-copy documents. 

Unfortunately, this changed recently. You have to send your documents via courier to CBK.

ONLY Kenyans living in the diaspora and who hold a local (Kenyan) commercial bank account are eligible to apply for a CDS account directly at the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK). 

Non-Kenyans and Kenyans without a local commercial bank account can however still invest in Kenya government securities as nominees of authorised CBK agents which include: 

  • Commercial banks
  • Investment banks and 
  • Stock brokers located in Kenya
  • Non-bank financial institutions
  • Licensed investment advisors 

These investment companies have a CDS account with CBK and invest on your behalf. 

They will charge you management fees for this service which is usually a portion of your investment capital. For example, one of my financial coaching clients paid KES 86,000 in management fees to invest 1.1 Million. That’s already 7.8% of her investment capital! Most Treasury bonds return between 11 and 14% in interest paid semi-annually. By paying 7.8% in management fees, you’ll have lost more than half of your annual return.

A smart investor breaks the chain of going through such intermediaries which is why investing directly through CBK is the best option and the only option we recommend.

The step-by-step guide provided on the Central Bank of Kenya website is missing some steps which means you’ll take longer to have your CDS account. Since I set up my account while living in Dubai, this is a detailed guide based on my experience.




Step 1: Visit the CBK website https://www.centralbank.go.ke/securities/ and download the mandate card (application form) 

There are mandate cards for Individual investors and also corporate investors. This guide is for individual investors.


Step 2: Print the appropriate mandate card and fill out your details.

Ensure you fill out the mandate form properly and sign in all the spaces needed including the terms and conditions.


Other documents that are required while applying for a CBK- CDS Account:


  • Email Indemnity Agreement form

This form has a witness section: any Kenyan citizen can act as a witness by signing the form in the spaces provided.

  • Treasury Mobile Direct (TMD)  Registration form if you have a Safaricom line that is roaming

Central Bank of Kenya Treasury Mobile Direct (CBK TMD) is a USSD mobile system application that enables CDS account holders to buy treasury securities (treasury bills & bonds) and query their virtual account balances using the *866# short code on their mobile phones.

  • Central Bank of Kenya Treasury Mobile Direct Terms & Conditions form

For the 3 documents above, contact CBK via cds@centralbank.go.ke or ndo@centralbank.go.ke to email you the forms. 

From experience, call (Tel +254202863060) them instead of emailing them. Their emails either bounce because their inbox is always full or they never reply.

  • KRA PIN certificate
  • One coloured passport-size photo
  • Copy of your Kenyan National Identity Card (ID) or Passport.


Step 3: Courier the documents to your commercial bank in Kenya for verification.


The mandate card, passport-size photograph and copy of your ID MUST be certified by your banker (your local commercial bank based in Kenya).

Your banker should certify the ORIGINAL (not a copy) completed CDS mandate card by appending the bank’s stamp and signatures of two of their authorised signatories on the space provided on the mandate card. 

For the copy of your ID/passport and photo, they should also append the stamp and sign.

If you have a good relationship with your banker, you can instruct them to send your documents to The Central Bank of Kenya to have your CDS account set up after verification.

If you’re not in contact with a relationship manager at your bank, you can also courier the documents to a trusted friend or relative who will deliver the documents to your banker for verification and then deliver the documents to the Central Bank offices.


Step 4: Alternatively, you can courier the 7 documents:


  1. Duly filled mandate card
  2. Passport or ID copy
  3. Email Indemnity Agreement form
  4. Treasury Mobile Direct (TMD)  Registration form if you have a Safaricom line that is roaming
  5. One passport photo
  6. KRA pin certificate
  7. Central Bank of Kenya Treasury Mobile Direct Terms & Conditions form


The Director

Financial Markets

Central Bank of Kenya

P O Box 60000- 00200



CBK will send your documents to your banker for verification on your behalf and then set up your CDS account (this is the option I used)

Once the CDS account has been opened, you will be notified of your CDS account number via email.




When your CDS account is set up, CBK will send you a text message on your registered mobile number. 

This is a notification that you can start using TMD using the CBK USSD Code *866#.

When you dial the *866#,  the interface will recognize you as a CDS  account holder.

You will be able to access the following services at the touch of a button:

  • Applying & bidding for T-Bills & Bonds
  • Notifications of bid outcomes
  • Your account balance
  • Status alerts for sales or purchases in the secondary market


Frequently Asked Questions about how to open a CBK-CDS Account with the Central Bank of Kenya


  1. Can I open a CDS account online?

No. You have to use the manual process as detailed above.


  1. What are the charges for opening a CDS account with Central Bank of Kenya?

FREE! The Central Bank does not charge any fees in the CDS account creation process. You’ll however incur costs such as printing and courier charges to send your documents to your banker and CBK.


  1. How long does it take to open a CDS account with Central Bank of Kenya?

It takes 7 working days to process your application at the CBK. In recent times, the process seems to be taking longer so you might need to be a little more patient!

Do you have questions about the above process? Leave them in the comment section below. I read and answer all.


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  1. James

    Hi, my name is James and am currently working at Qatar Public mass transport.
    I would like to know the detail of the infrastructure bond of May 2023 prospectus for government of Kenya infrastructure bond offer.
    Issue Number IFA1/2023/004

    • Agatha

      Hey, you can check this on central banks website. You can also book a consultation session with me and I’ll explain all the details. Write to me agatha@thewealthtribe.com


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