By: BRIAN NGUGI
Kenya is betting on a string of high profile international events set for Nairobi to attract tourists and investors.
Commerce and Tourism Cabinet Secretary, Mrs Phyllis Kandie said the line-up of events that Kenya is set to host have the potential to turn around the sluggish tourism and attract huge investments.
She projects that by the end of December Foreign Direct Investments in Kenya will hit Sh200 billion.
“That is a doubling in one single calendar year, and evidence that Kenya is attracting huge investment and maintaining continuous steady, consistent growth that is so attractive to international investors,” said Mrs Kandie.
Kenya’s strength, the minister said, lies in its huge consumer market of 44 million, besides being the gateway into the East Africa Community (EAC), a market with 144 million people.
The country also has the potential to tap into the Comesa market with a population of 440 million.
“Kenya is holding steady while other African markets are dropping off. International investment conferences are so crucial to marketing Kenya and its investment potential,” Ms Kandie said.
She spoke ahead of the Kenya International Investment Conference (KIICO) which opens tomorrow at the KICC, Nairobi.
The forum is hosted by her ministry through the Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest) and a number of partners.
She said KIICO 2015 would highlight key growth sectors and find solutions to challenges hindering faster growth in investment.
The theme of the conference is Think Investment — Make It Kenya.
Also, Kenya is this week hosting Pope Francis whose presence in the country is expected to draw large numbers of faithful and visitors.
The visit is also a boost to Kenya’s image.
The country will also be the venue for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s quadrennial Conference (UNCTAD XIV) in July next year.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade CS Amina Mohamed said the UNCTAD meeting would boost the country’s image which has received a beating in the recent past due to travel bans caused by insecurity.
This has heavily hurt tourism and investment environment.
“It will be a distinct privilege for me and all Kenyan people to welcome the nations of the world to Nairobi next July to take up the important challenge of putting trade and development policies to work in the service of sustainable development,” says Mrs Mohammed.
She said, coming at a historical moment — just after the international community has agreed to “a holistic and comprehensive set of sustainable development goals”, — the conference is tasked with translating the new development agenda into concrete actions that benefit all countries.
Former Minister Dr Mukhisa Kutuyi who currently serves as the Secretary General of UNCTAD and Mr Stephen Karau, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said the conferences will be “an opportunity to move beyond business as usual and forge a strong global partnership to accelerate the implementation of the global development agenda”.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION