The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) rallied its membership in 2014 to present to the Cabinet, the leadership of Parliament, the Judiciary leadership, the Council of Governors and development partners, an ambitious national business agenda.
The focus for the next five years was to improve the business environment using the three global indices: World Bank’s Doing Business Index (DBI), the World Economic Forum’s Competitiveness Index (CI) and Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI).
On the DBI, the ambition was to move Kenya from No. 136 in 2014 to the top 50 by 2020.
Last week, the World Bank released its annual ease of doing business ranking. Kenya moved up some 12 places to position 80 globally and third in sub-Saharan Africa.
It has climbed 56 spots in the past three years. This year’s is the best performance since the report’s inception 15 years ago, coming third in Africa — after Mauritius and Rwanda.
It is a culmination of the efforts re-ignited in 2014, when Kenya recorded the worst performance, position 136 globally.
The efforts of the government and the private sector are bearing fruit. The latest World Bank Group’s ‘Doing Business 2018: Reforming to Create Jobs’ report, lauds regulatory reforms that have strengthened the ability of the private sector to create jobs, lift people out of poverty and create more opportunities for the economy to prosper.
It reassures investors that Kenya is a viable investment destination. The report benchmarks 190 countries against a set of indicators on how easy it is to do business.
Kenya excelled in six categories, namely, construction permits, getting electricity, accessing credit, paying taxes, trading across borders, and protecting minority investors.
Top performers such as New Zealand, Singapore, Denmark, and South Korea have implemented the highest number of business reform regulations.
They have few bureaucratic hurdles, robust legal institutions and laws and regulations based on international good practices.
Kenya has implemented strategic reforms that have heightened its investment appeal to domestic and foreign investors.
It has also hosted high-profile meetings, including the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), Tokyo International Conference on African Development (Ticad VI), and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad 14).
Kepsa has been lobbying for legislation that has made the economy more business friendly. The reforms have boosted business confidence, creating a holistic environment for industries, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). For local investors, power connectivity, improved infrastructure, low interest rates, and modernised tax systems are good business facilitation measures.
Kepsa is committed to working with the government and its various agencies to accelerate reforms to make the country one of the world’s most desirable investment destinations.
As we do well in the Doing Business Index, we need to also improve in the other indices.
We are confident that the growing opportunities for investors are due to economic reforms.
But we need to review how we enforce contracts, resolve insolvency, and registration of property.
As for now, let’s uncork the champagne for resilience, considering that the report has come at a time when the country is emerging from a heated electoral period that had an adverse impact on the economy.
Ms Kariuki is the CEO of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa). [email protected]