Key private sector players in Kenya have come together to sell Kenya as the preferred trade and commerce hub for Africa.
Through a campaign dubbed ‘Why the Future is Kenya’, business leaders drawn from the financial, technology, service and hospitality sectors celebrated Kenya’s status as an investment hub with the premiere of a specially-commissioned short film and campaign launch at Nairobi’s Coca-Cola Auditorium.
Speaking during the launch of the campaign, Brand Kenya Chairman Dr. Chris Kirubi said Kenya is ahead of its pears, thanks to factors including increasing innovation, a thriving business environment, as well a rising middle class.
“Given Kenya’s diversifying and robust growth prospects, strong private-sector participation, ongoing pro-business reforms, as well as a rising domestic and regional consumer market, Kenya is treading on the right path as it seeks to establish itself as an investment hub in Africa,” he said.
Diversifying the manufacturing sector and creating jobs, which is a core objective of the country’s Vision 2030 national development strategy, can only be achieved through concerted efforts, Dr Kirubi said.
He noted the need to continue investing in sectors that will facilitate the entry of foreign investors and promote incentives in order to industrialize the country and to raise living standards of its people.
Business leaders participating in the campaign include Ahmed Rady, GM Coca-Cola Central, East and West Africa Ltd., Jeremy Awori, CEO Barclays Bank Kenya; Bob Collymore, CEO Safaricom; Charles Murito, Country Manager, Kenya, Google; James Mworia, CEO Centum; Corine Nana, CEO Oracle Kenya and Adil Popat, CEO Simba Corporation.
The campaign saw the leaders give personal accounts of the ease of doing business in Kenya and why they find Kenya as the perfect destination for investment. One of the key areas highlighted is continued innovation as well as the existence of a ready labour market that is willing to work and sustain the business to achieve its goals.
Growth and prosperity
Ahmed Rady, General Manager, GM Coca-Cola Central, East and West Africa Ltd., noted that, just like other businesses, the company believes that investing in people creates the right environment for businesses to thrive, thus generating jobs and other opportunities.
“My message to the world is that growth and prosperity in Kenya is happening and that we are proud to be part of this growth. We want to see this country become the Africa’s commercial powerhouse. Kenya is the gateway to East Africa and the regional commercial hub. You all know that many international companies are choosing Kenya as their hub in Africa. This clearly shows that Kenya can rise higher and become the gateway to Africa,” Rady said.
Business leaders also pledged to work together to increase the global appetite for inward investment in Kenya. There was a call for action for the private sector members to take advantage of the innovations being spearheaded by various individuals who have tactically been able to provide some of the solutions aimed at improving the business environment.
The initiative comes even as Kenya continues to emerge as a top reformer in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report in recent years. Kenya ranked 92nd out of 190 countries in the 2017 edition of the report, up 21 places from the previous year and trailing only Mauritus, Rwanda, Botswana and South Africa in Sub-Saharan Africa. This improvement is attributed to the government’s efforts to simplify procedures for setting up businesses, as well as improving access to credit and protecting minority investors.