NAIROBI, President Uhuru Kenyatta met the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Vice-President for the Middle East and Africa, Sergio Pimenta, here Tuesday and discussed with him support from the IFC for the private sector in delivering his Big Four agenda consisting of food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and affordable healthcare for all.

President Kenyatta sought the active engagement of the IFC, the World Bank affiliate which lends to the private sector, in securing cheap financing as well as lifting the capacity of the private sector in Kenya so that they can participate in large-scale projects.

Pimenta said the IFC was keen to partner with the government to deliver on an economic agenda focused on investment in the social sectors.

We will be looking at how we can train small and medium entrepreneurs to enable them to benefit from many tenders which are being availed in various sectors of the economy, said Pimenta.

Specifically, our interest is in building the capacity of SMEs, including exploring discussions around mergers, so they can bid for projects on an equal footing with major companies from China or elsewhere.

President Kenyatta said he is focused on achieving his Big Four agenda, as well as a drive to put resources in social sectors. To achieve the Big Four we will require partnership with the private sector, so that they can take advantage of the good foundation we have laid over the past few years to deliver to ordinary citizens, the president said.

It requires that the private sector looks at its investment models, look at how they can support affordable housing, see how they can invest in agriculture so we can meet our food security and nutrition goals. It requires that we look at how to further support SMEs so that they invests in manufacturing and agro-processing.

“To reach these goals also requires that we continue to invest in education, and especially in skills development.”

Pimenta said the IFC would explore how to further support the private sector, especially with raising funds that could go to projects such as affordable housing. At present, for example, Kenya meets less than a tenth of mortgage lending demand due to cost issues.