FOCUS ON KENYA: A Chain Reaction Of Investment And Economic Growth
“Kenya has the largest, most diverse economy in East and Central Africa, serving as the regional hub for logistics and air transportation, financial services, ICT innovations, and international media coverage. We have a clear vision for economic development. Our focus is on implementing more business-friendly policies and reforms to reduce investment costs and enhance the sector’s global competitiveness.” – President Kenyatta.
Kenya is known as one of the most innovative countries in Africa with the strongest and most reliable internet connectivity in the continent thanks to the undersea cables that connect Kenyans to the world wide web. The country has shown exceptional economic progress in recent years, even jumping ahead an incredible 56 positions on the ease of doing business index in 2018, placing them at number 61. The Kenyan people are strong, dedicated, and eager to use their talents and assets to create a new future as a middle-income country. This goal has been spearheaded by the plans established by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration. The Vision 2030 Plan and Big Four Agenda are the keys to propelling Kenya forward for years to come. The Big Four Agenda, which is focused on four major pillars of economic development: Food Security, Affordable Housing, Manufacturing and Universal Healthcare, is the secret weapon to developing key sectors and causing a ripple effect through the entire economy. Through the implementation of this plan, Kenya will soon be a world leader in numerous sectors, as evident from their current success in utilising their ICT advantage in developing existing industries to create a better life for all.
The administration is dedicated to capitalising on Kenya’s diverse economy in order to develop the economy. President Kenyatta says, “Kenya has the largest, most diverse economy in East and Central Africa, serving as the regional hub for logistics and air transportation, financial services, ICT innovations, and international media coverage. We have a clear vision for economic development. Our focus is on implementing more business-friendly policies and reforms to reduce investment costs and enhance the sector’s global competitiveness.” Paving the way for foreign direct investment is another key factor to facilitate the country’s growth. FDI in the past has been positive, especially with the amount of inclusivity and the influx of Internet start-ups that Kenya has seen in recent years.
SEACOM has established an economically viable and reliable fibre broadband access, which has given life to many sectors so that they may grow, expand and modernise. Access to stable Internet has been a crucial addition for Kenya and many East African businesses. Tonny Tugee, Managing Director of SEACOM, says, “Our ambition was always to better equip African companies with high-performance Internet so that they can harness its potential for growth, with positive effects for local economies.”
The greatest asset of strong and reliable Internet access is the connectivity and inclusivity it brings to users across the country. This tool has already been embraced by companies such as Absa Group member Barclays Bank of Kenya. Jeremy Awori, Managing Director and CEO of Barclay’s Bank, states, “Technology allows you to meet customer needs and improve customer experience more efficiently and cost-effectively. It enhances your control and provides you with data that enables you to take more efficient decisions.” These decisions have been made to ensure financial inclusion for all Kenyan citizens as the country goes fiercely in the direction of its inevitable bright future.
The growth of the economy opens the door for other sectors to enjoy Kenya’s achievements as well, just as public-private partnerships in the country are helping to develop sectors such as energy, education, healthcare, transport and infrastructure. Judith Nyakawa, Director of Public-Private Partnerships Unit, says, “We are enablers in the President’s Big Four Agenda. We contribute to improvements in the road, health, and infrastructure sectors. As a unit, we are continuously looking for alternative ways to raise funds so that government development budget can be used to meet other needs.” These initiatives are creating a closer and more inclusive sense of community among Kenyas, connecting them and providing better access to roads, transportation, healthcare and insurance, among other needs.
The fulfilment of these needs will lead to a successful and driven population, but also to more opportunities in other sectors such as agri-business; manufacturing; financial services; ICT; tourism; and transport and logistics. To foster the rapid and favourable growth of these sectors, Afreximbank has invested in Kenya and developed plans to support its companies. Afreximbank is the most prominent pan-African multinational financial institution committed to financing and advancing intra- and extra-African trade. The heart of their plan lies in the Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA) which will provide seed capital to African companies to help them expand and grow in the thriving economy. In a briefing, Afreximbank said, “The bank’s location in Nairobi will create more job opportunities for the youth and generate business opportunities for entrepreneurs to venture into. Afreximbank has already become a significant player in Kenya’s economy, having financed deals close to 300 million U.S. dollars.”
The progress that Kenya is continuing to enjoy is a chain reaction of dedication from its people, administration and sectors who see a bright future in store for the country. The Vision 2030 has brought successful results since its implementation in 2008 and the momentum is not stopping anytime soon. The country’s sectors are energised and ready to expand through the improvement of public infrastructure, even stronger ICT, and financial inclusion for all. The Big Four Agenda will use the country’s strengths and tools to ensure Food Security, create more Affordable Housing, enhance Manufacturing and provide Universal Healthcare for all, skyrocketing Kenya into a middle-income country.