Investors have been encouraged to consider investing in Kenya by President Uhuru Kenyatta assuring them that Kenya is open and safe for business and investment.
Given the business-friendly reforms the Government has implemented, he said the country is an ideal investment destination adding that Kenya is an access platform to the larger East African Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) markets.
“Kenya is on a positive reform trajectory and the Government has implemented far-reaching structural reforms and sound macro-economic management with an impressive turnaround in economic performance,” President Kenyatta said.
Citing Kenya’s proximity to the East African countries with a population of 135 million people, COMESA with a population of over 430 million people and a wider market of 650 million people provided by the Tripartite Free Trade Area, President Kenyatta pointed these as some of the incentives for investing in the country.
“Kenya thus avails enormous opportunities for investment in ICT, manufacturing, agriculture, mining, finance, transport, infrastructure and energy that would serve the above cited regions,” President Kenyatta said. He also promoted the Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) corridor project as an open area for investment.
He said this during the Kenya-Nigeria Business Forum which was also addressed by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.
Kenya has embarked on expanding and upgrading infrastructure to deliver the required efficiency – in terms of time and cost – aimed at facilitating trade, investment and attract private sector investments in critical sectors of the economy.
“In this regard the Government has taken steps to improve trade and investment climate by implementing key policy initiatives which include: The enactment of the Public Private Partnership Act 2013; The roll-out of e-Procurement; The enactment of investor protection; Ease of doing Business initiatives; The establishment of One–Stop-Shop and the Reduction in the cost of power among others,” he added.
Calling on Kenyans and Nigerians to invest in one of the promising emerging economies in Africa – Kenya – the head of state said it was important for the private sector to play its role while the Government delivers on policy.
He noted that the bilateral relations between the two countries has yielded a number of agreements including the Bilateral Trade Agreement and the Memorandum of Understanding between the Kenyan and Nigerian Private sectors.
Key among them was the formation of the Nigeria-Kenya Business Council and the Kenya Nigeria Agri-business Group launched in May 2013 and October 2014.
The head of state especially praised the visits made between the two countries by Members of the agri-business group to Benue State of Nigeria and Busia County of Kenya to enhance agriculture cooperation through benchmarking.
“I am happy to note the outcomes where Busia County received 30 scholarships to the Benue Cultural University for Agriculture,” President Kenyatta said.
He added that the establishment of the Joint Trade Committee – which has been agreed on – will address issues affecting trade relations between Kenya and Nigeria.
“I believe once the committee is in place it will clear some of the hurdles our business persons are experiencing in order to enhance our trade volumes,” he said.
With the new discoveries of oil in the country, President Kenyatta invited Nigerian investors, who he said have more experience on the matter to invest in the sector through joint ventures with Kenyans or by going into Public Private Partnerships.
On his part, President Buhari expressed optimism about Nigeria- Kenya trade relations but called for the removal of business restrictions to allow for a smooth flow of trade between the two countries.
“Our business people should be allowed to operate within the ambit of law unimpeded,” he said.
He commended President Kenyatta and former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan saying they “brought the West to the East” in terms of trade relations.