The government is keen to deliver President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ‘Big Four Agenda’ because it will help Kenya to boost investments in order to attain the Vision 2030 target of at least 32 per cent of the GDP, which, in turn, will accelerate economic growth, create jobs and enhance wealth creation.
This will not be an easy task, but it is one that can be achieved with the right policies, focused implementation and well-thought-out investments.
The country must prioritise manufacturing by making it profitable for local companies to produce for export, boosting their capacity to expand within the country and focusing on SME growth and productivity.
Kenya is a preferred investment destination in the region, but its competitiveness wavers due to a myriad of factors, the most critical of which can be resolved.
The solutions, however, will require political goodwill and strong sustainable policies whose impact will last many years.
Already, we’re seeing heightened activity to improve the road and rail infrastructure. Apart from mega projects like the SGR, Dongo Kundu bypass in Mombasa and Kwale, Lamu port and associated Lapsset infrastructure, refurbishment of Kisumu port and the planned economic free zone in Naivasha at the national level, there are several other initiatives in counties.
These should attract foreign direct investment and local investors in sectors like oil and gas, technology and renewable energy.
It’s in a bid to ensure that the environment is conducive and supportive of such investments that Industry, Trade and Cooperatives Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya will launch the Kenya Investment Policy (KIP) and the “County Investment Handbook” on October 30.
The KIP is a consolidated investment policy that will seal a lacuna that has resulted in enactment of laws that are in conflict with the Investment Promotion Act No.6 of 2004 to guide promotion and facilitation of investments.
KIP’s objective is to position Kenya as a premier investment destination, a global leader in investment attraction and retention, by mobilising private investment to support economic growth and sustainable development.
Critical success factors towards an enabling investment environment are as envisioned in the Kenya Vision 2030 economic pillar, which focuses on growth of productive sectors.
Other investment-supportive legislations enacted or reviewed recently are integral in implementing a friendly investment regime.
KIP proposes establishment of the National Investment Council (NIC), a presidential body with all the key high-level personalities responsible for decision-making on critical investment issues.
It will hasten decision-making and help to make the one-stop shop for investors effective.
The county investment handbook is intended to build the capacity of devolved units to promote their counties as viable investment destinations by providing information and guidance on the most relevant aspects of investment promotion.
It can be used to identify weaknesses and gaps in their investment promotion capabilities and lobby for technical, financial and other forms of assistance. It will be reviewed after every one or two years.
To ensure seamless partnership and collaboration with the Kenya Investment Authority, the county handbook serves as a guide, a tool designed to assist county governments to develop sustainable investment promotion, facilitation and after-care strategies.
Among those who supported the development of the two documents were government agencies, UNCTAD, the World Bank, IFC, Comesa and the business community.
Development agencies such as Msingi East Africa have also supported high-impact industries like aquaculture and the cotton, textiles and apparel industries.
The KIP provides an opportunity to review and harmonise legislation to make Kenya a more attractive investment environment.
It also provides a coherent investment strategy that avoids duplication across agencies involved in investment promotion and facilitation, including county governments.
Previously, legislation on investments were not guided by a holistic policy and various agencies have engaged in investment promotion and facilitation without harmony and coordination.
The new policy will, however, address these and challenges such as the need for an enabling environment that, for instance, provides investor protection and guarantees investment incentives.