NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 7 – The government is making efforts to remove constraints that hamper economic growth by implementing macroeconomic policies aimed at expanding local and foreign investments in the country as they develop a sustainable investment approach for Konza City.
Speaking at the Konza Techno City Investors Conference, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said that the development of basic infrastructure for the city will be fully financed and measures have been taken to guard against investment risks.
“Kenya is among the pioneer members of the African Trade Insurance Agency, a multilateral institution which covers the investor against loss of equity on a project due to confiscation or broad political risks, which in the case of Kenya I guarantee will never apply,” he said.
“The constitution protects the rights of investors and also establishes strong governance structures, guaranteeing the security of both the investors and their investments in any part of the country,” he added.
The two-day conference brings together government officials and international and local investors to share experiences, challenges and opportunities that exist in order to develop a sustainable investment approach for the Konza Techno City.
The Konza City project, which is described as Africa’s Silicon Savannah, should have kicked off in April but it has experienced a few setbacks.
Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Information and Communications Bitange Ndemo said that the lag was caused by a need to re-design the construction site and a delayed legal notice for the creation of the Konza Authority.
The Ministry has since issued bids for contractors to re-design the site and implemented the Konza Authority; however, foreign investors are still needed to get the ball rolling.
The total cost of the project is estimated at Sh800 million and the African Development Bank has partnered with the Kenyan Government in a bid to attract foreign investment.
Konza’s first Investor’s Conference will take place from the 7th to the 9th of August at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre with the goal of attracting about 500 local and foreign investors to discuss financing models for the venture.
Ndemo also noted that the ICT Ministry was partnering with the Ministry of Tourism to market the project to attract overseas financers during this year’s London Olympics.
Musyoka assured that the government will continue to ensure an enabling environment for stronger private sector participation but he noted that infrastructure and security have remained common investment challenges, although they have taken concrete steps to address the issues.
“We have accelerated the development of infrastructure such as roads, telecommunications, airports and a railway network to ensure efficiency in communication,” he stated.
“We have also focused on policies to remove constraints to fast track economic growth and create an enabling environment for stronger private sector participation,” he revealed.
He pointed out that the country is in the process of installing CCTV cameras around Nairobi and other major towns to enhance security and he urged investors to take advantage of Kenya’s status as a signatory to bilateral, regional and international trade agreements aimed at enhancing trade.
He added that the Lamu Port and Southern Sudan–Ethiopia Transport (LAPSET) corridor, launched last year, is one of the government’s major investments in the transport sector.
“The government is also developing the energy sub-sector to provide reliable and affordable energy supply for investment,” he announced.
“The recent discovery of oil in the country, coupled with the ever increasing skilled labour force will ensure adequate availability of energy and human capital,” he explained.
Finance Minister Njeru Githae assured investors of adequate security, saying that the ongoing political activities associated with electioneering period should not be a reason for delayed or relocation of their investment.
“Elections will come and go, the country, people and established institutions will remain, do not sit on the fence with fear,” he urged the business community.