ELDORET – US Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman has pitched Kenya as the best destination for everyone in doing business in Africa, drawing the recognition of President William Ruto.
Speaking on Wednesday during the opening of the eight Devolution Conference in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu county, Ambassador Whitman enumerated a list of factors she believes makes Kenya the number one destination for investments in the region.
She noted that Kenya is the most stable democracy in Africa having held what she termed as remarkable election.
“What I witnessed is nothing short or remarkable. Kenya held what many analysts say was the freest, fairest and most credible election in Kenyan history,” Ambassador Whitman said.
The envoy noted that the polls were observed by local and international observers and upheld by the Supreme Court, and power transferred orderly and peacefully.
On Kenya being the gateway to the East Africa market, home to over 500 million consumers, Whitman said 80% of East African trade passes through Kenya’s Mombasa port.
She also noted that the country has JKIA, the busiest airport in East Africa, served by 40 passenger airlines and 25 cargo planes.
Whitman also praised Kenya’s infrastructural development, saying the country has the Chinese-built Standard Gauge Railway, a many new roads and modern ports.
Further noting that Kenya’s largest is the US, the envoy said many American firms such as Copia and Twiga Foods have established in the country.
She added the East African country is the leading regional financial logistics hub, with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund having established regional headquarters in the country.
“From a financial and technology hub perspective, Kenya is already a regional hub for East Africa. Several international banks have had a presence in Nairobi for decades,” Whitman said.
“Kenya with its Silicon Savanna and super smart engineers is the region’s ICT hub,” the envoy added of Kenya’s technology and innovation sector.
Whitman said Kenya is the leading destination for foreign direct investment and venture capital besides boosting of young, educated and entrepreneurial English-speaking workforce.
She said Kenya is also intentional on curbing climate change and generates over 93 per cent of its energy from renewable sources, which will increase with the geothermal, solar and wind investments.
“We feel Kenya is ready for liftoff as it diversifies…Kenya is open for business,” she said, adding that the Ruto administration is committed to building a conducive environment for business.
She, however, noted that corruption is still a bottleneck, though noting the President has taken action against corrupt government institutions and officers.
President Ruto in his speech acknowledged her presentation, requesting the delegates to stand up and applaud her.