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HomeSMART BUSINESSCAREERSTap of talent: Multinationals' CEOs marvel at quality of Kenyan workforce

Tap of talent: Multinationals’ CEOs marvel at quality of Kenyan workforce

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In March, panic gripped Kenyan academic writers after British Education Secretary Damian Hinds called on global payments firm such as PayPal to block essay writing firms which he faulted for helping Briton students cheat.

An article on Hinds’ pronouncement published by Daily Mail soon after portrayed Kenya as a hotbed of this kind of cheating, the report stated that while engaging the essay mills, British students insist on Kenyan writers to do their assignments due to their proficiency in english and their ability to deliver on strict deadlines.

Last week, Kenyan law students beat Harvard University students to emerge winners in the John H. Jackson Moot Court Competition on World Trade Organization (WTO) Law that was held in Geneva, Switzerland.

The students from Strathmore University beat their counterparts from 90 other law schools from across the world after preparing and analyzing a fictive case and presenting their arguments both for the complainant and the respondent in front of a panel which comprises of WTO and trade law experts.

During this writer’s interactions with business leaders, one observation has stood out, that Kenyan talent is rated highly, just like in the first two occurrences except that the essay writing enterprise integrity is questionable.

The CEOs and Managing Directors have often indicated that one of the reasons multinationals choose Kenya is because of the quality of talent at their disposal.

On Thursday,multinational insuarance firm Cigna opened its Africa headquarters in Nairobi.

Queried why Nairobi was an attractive proposition for the firm, Maxime Claessens, Director of Cigna’s Kenyan operation said that while potential business opportunities was the major draw, quality talent in the country was a major contributing factor in the decision to set up shop in Nairobi.

{Read: Kenyans earn average of Sh78,600}

“We were already operating in the country. We had done our research and one of the reasons we decided to open our continental headquarters here was because we knew that we could tap the talent we needed in Kenya, the quality of the Kenyan workforce is exceptionally high,” Mr Claessens told Business Today while comparing Kenya to similar size economies.

Mr Claessens is not the only CEO to be in awe of Kenyan talent, in an interview with Business Today on June 11, Knight Frank Managing Director Ben Woodhams also expressed his appreciation of Kenyan talent.

“One thing that I’ve noticed is that the level of education is definitely higher and Kenyan talent is quite sharp,” said Mr Woodhams who has been the real estate firm’s Managing Director in Kenya and Tanzania.

{See also: Billionaire pays Ksh 4 billion student loans for graduates}

Conversely, Radisson Blu General Manager Robert Kucera, a South African who doubles up as East Africa District Manager for the hotel chain also told Business Today during an interview that even the quality of menial workers in Kenya surprises him.

“In Kenya the education level is higher, even a normal waitress in Kenya sounds educated, their level of thinking is higher,” said the hotelier who has worked in different countries across Africa. “I am just from a meeting with union leaders and in my interactions with its members gives me the feeling that Kenya is ahead of many countries in terms of the sheer quality of its workforce,” added Mr Kucera.

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