[Kenya Business Week] Energizing investor relations
Kenya this week continues to strategically place itself to benefit from regional integration and reap from its warm relationship with development partners and international investors.
This, happening in a week that the country’s treasury minister is set to present a Sh3.07 trillion 2018/2019 national budget, the highest in the country’s history.
The country has called for tough measures on enforcement of SIM card registration within the East African Community (EAC) as part of efforts to promote safe use of ICT infrastructure within the region.Central Bank of Kenya has in the past issued banks strict directives on combating money laundering and terrorism as the country looks to stem emerging threats. The country has also had to revise its national ICT policy to inculcate the role and space of new technologies in tackling modern day crime.
In regional matters, Kenya has become the first country to deposit her Instrument of Ratificationof the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area. Kenya is among three countries that have done both: signed and ratified the TFTA alongside Egypt and Uganda. So far 22 countries out of 26 have now signed the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement. Such robust integration has seen COMESA ranked the fastest growing economy in the world according to the latest COMESA macroeconomic report, with five of its members recording growth rate of between five and ten per cent.
In matters energy, The African Development Bank and the Climate Investment Fund have invested close to $50 million in a geothermal power plant in Rift Valley area. Kenya has nearly 7,000 MW of geothermal potential, yet only about 200 MW is currently being developed.
Kenya Climate Ventures on the other hand has concluded an investment round in Sistema.bio to deliver sustainable renewable energy and agricultural solutions to farmers in Kenya.
These institutions join others like World Bank that has also invested $180 million to spur the energy sector and African Union Commission’s $1.37 million in geothermal. This, as a UN report indicate that Kenya energy access levels are 27 per cent but still below Sub Saharan Africa averages.
And in cementing its relationship with development partners, IFAD and the Kenyan government this week reiterated their commitment to working together to reduce poverty and food insecurity through various interventions, including financial services to smallholder farmers and support for various value chains.
Previous notable interventions with other development partners have included an automated fruit drying machine that has increased fresh produce shelf life, EU agriculture export subsidies for Kenyan farmers and a $12.6 million project working with 30,000 milk farmers to increase quality and production.
In ensuring that more underserved Kenyans have access to vital services, Mastercard through its financial inclusion hub has stepped up its Kenyan operations by announcing Salah Goss as the head of the hub. She is credited with impressive engagement on financial inclusion in mobile enabled solutions, agent banking and community-managed microfinance. This is a plus to a country that still tops the world in financial inclusion, with reports giving the country a rating of up to 86 per cent above global heavy weights like Brazil. This has been due to unique products like Huduma centers that have received the government’s full backing.