Kenya’s New Government to Tackle Demands From Investors

Kenya Election Uhuru Kenyatta
Kenya’s incoming president Uhuru kenyatta

AFRICANGLOBE – Kenya’s President-elect, Uhuru Kenyatta, would have to tackle a host of calls from investors that find themselves under pressure from the ever-increasing cost of doing business in Kenya, the Business Daily reported on Monday.

Other investor demands would, according to the Business Daily, include the “bureaucratic regulations that impede their competitiveness” in local and foreign markets.

These calls emerged as soon as the largely peaceful country’s presidential elections came to an end with Uhuru Kenyatta winning the majority votes.

But the arch-opponent to Kenya’s president-elect, prime minister, Raila Odinga, swore to contest Kenyatta’s victory in court.

According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), this lengthened the limbo of the country’s long vote count and cast a pall over East Africa’s largest economy.

Raila Odinga gained 43.31 percent of the 12.3 million votes cast in last Monday’s election. This was well short of the 50.07 percent that went to Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, according to Kenya’s electoral commission.

WSJ reported, however, that Uhuru Kenyatta, barely cleared the 50 percent snag to avoid a runoff against Raila Odinga.

According to the newspaper, Odinga said he would show instances of vote manipulation and miscounting in a petition to Kenya’s Supreme Court.

The broadly peaceful elections—and the calm that greeted word of  Kenyatta’s victory over the weekend—show how far Kenya has come since 2007, when a disputed win for departing President Mwai Kibaki sparked violence that killed more than 1000 people, the WSJ reported.

Business Daily cited Kenya’s business leaders as saying they required urgent review of costly inputs such as energy, labour and transport that make it hard for Kenyan goods to compete in key markets, slowing down exports growth.

“The net impact of these costs is reduced sales or high total production costs that make goods and services produced in Kenya uncompetitive. The cost of doing business in Kenya has continued to rise over the last few years, making it difficult for businesses to thrive,” Business Daily quoted the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), as saying.

Kenya’s performance in the World Bank driven Doing Business Index has declined in recent years partly due to high costs and strenuous business regulations

Betty Maina, the CEO of KAM, was quoted as saying: “We need the new government to prioritise the provision of affordable, sufficient, reliable and clean energy to power industry even as it keeps an eye on quality and affordability.”

The business environment is a key determinant of the volume and quality of investment in an economy, employment, creation of jobs, revenue collection and the general well-being of society.

KAM said the new government would also have to improve infrastructure and technology to ease the flow of goods from the port of Mombasa to the hinterland.

“The new government should prioritise fixing the port of Mombasa to unblock the logistics corridor and increase efficiency and productivity,” KAM said.