Upbeat Kirubi roots for Kenya as top investment spot

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Kirubi-Obama Upbeat Kirubi roots for Kenya as top investment spot
Businessman Chris Kirubi greets former US President Barack Obama when he toured Kenya in 2015. Looking on is First Lady Michelle Obama, among others.

Kenya remains the best investment hub in Africa despite the World Bank projecting a decreased GDP growth of 5.5 per cent down from six per cent recorded in 2016.

Speaking at a policy breakfast at a Nairobi hotel where business journalists had converged to discuss the story of Kenya’s current economic climate under the topic “The Future is Kenya”, Brand Kenya chairman the country boasts of so many activities that are yet to be exploited and hence would continue to be a focal point for investors.

“I am an investor and I will candidly tell you that Kenya is the best investment place in Africa and even in the world. We have so many opportunities which have not yet been utilised. We have gold, the best soil for farming and even better climate than Israel, who do their farming in the desert. We need to start looking at our country positively if we shall attract investors,” asserted Kirubi.

The business guru faulted the media for always presenting the negative side of the Kenyan economic story, which discourages investors.

“Everybody’s future lies in his/her own hands, but the future of Kenya depends so much on you (journalists). Do not be grave diggers by always telling the negative side of the story. Always aspire to inspire through positive stories,” said Kirubi. “Every time, I flip through newspapers looking for a business story, but the only story I find is about gambling, which is robbing Kenyans their hard-earned money.”

On politics, Kirubi said that it is only the flourishing business climate and entities that can turn around any political duel and the story of a politically unstable nation.

However, Kirubi’s positive outlook comes at a time investors have expressed concern over the charged environment surrounding the forthcoming General Election with some putting their plans on hold.

Kenya has also witnessed mixed results on the economic front with several companies laying off staff, retailers struggling to stay afloat and multinationals relocating even as others arrive to set shop in the country.

The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report ranks Kenya 92nd out of 190 countries in the 2017 edition of the report, up 21 places from the previous year trailing only Mauritius, Rwanda, Botwana and South Africa in Sub-Saharan Africa.

This was attributed to increasing innovation in Kenya, thriving business environment as well as rising middle class.

The meeting was sponsored by Business Advocacy Fund and the Strathmore Business School as part of a campaign dubbed ‘Why the future is Kenya.’

The initiative is aimed at helping Kenya hit the Kshs9.5 trillion GDP level by 2020 as predicted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The campaign draws business leaders from the financial, technology, service and hospitality sectors in a bid to open up under-developed areas of the country by continued investing that will provide access to jobs for more than 40 per cent of Kenya’s population and bringing in investments equivalent to five to eight per cent of the GDP.