NAIROBI, President Uhuru Kenyatta has assured investors that Kenya is open and safe for business and investment.

The country is an ideal investment destination given the business-friendly reforms the Government has implemented as well as the access to the larger East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) sub-regions.

“Kenya is on a positive reform trajectory and the Government has implemented far-reaching structural reforms and sound macro-economic management with an impressive turnaround in economic performance,” President Kenyatta said here Thursday at the opening of the Kenya-Nigeria Business Forum, which was also addressed by visiting Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.

As one of the promising emerging economies in Africa, Kenya is keen to expand and upgrade infrastructure to deliver the required efficiency in terms of time and cost to facilitate trade and investment and attract private sector investments in critical sectors of the economy, the Kenyan president said.

“In this regard, the Government has taken steps to improve trade and investment climate by implementing key policy initiatives which include: The enactment of the Public Private Partnership Act 2013; The roll-out of e-Procurement; The enactment of investor protection; Ease of doing Business initiatives; The establishment of One-Stop-Shop and the Reduction in the cost of power among others,” he said.

The President encouraged the Kenyan and Nigerian business communities to invest in the country, saying it was important for the private sector to play its role while the Government delivers on policy.

On bilateral relations between the two countries, President Kenyatta observed that the high level visits between the two countries have yielded a number of agreements including the Bilateral Trade Agreement and the Memorandum of Understanding between the Kenyan and Nigerian Private sectors.

President Kenyatta noted that his visit to Nigeria and similar visit to Kenya by former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan culminated in the formation of the Nigeria-Kenya Business Council and the Kenya Nigeria Agri-business Group launched in May 2013 and October 2014.

He expressed optimism that establishment of a Joint Trade Committee which has been agreed upon will address issues affecting trade relations between Kenya and Nigeria.

“I believe once the committee is in place it will clear some of the hurdles our business persons are experiencing in order to enhance our trade volumes,” he said.

The President cited Kenya’s proximity to the East African countries with a population of 135 million people, COMESA with a population of over 430 million people and wider the market of 650 million people provided by the Tripartite Free Trade Area as some of the incentive for investing in the country.

Following the discovery of oil in Kenya and the Nigerian experience in the sector, President Kenyatta invited Nigerian investors to invest in Kenya by going into joint ventures with Kenyan companies or through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs).

President Buhari called for the removal of business restrictions to allow for a smooth flow of trade between the two countries. “Our business people should be allowed to operate within the ambit of law unimpeded,” President Buhari said.

He commended President Kenyatta and former President Goodluck Jonathan saying they “brought the West to the East” in terms of trade relations

Source: KBC