, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 30 – An American company has declared its resolve to push ahead with its foray into Kenya, barely days after a travel advisory issued by Washington following last week’s terror attack at Westgate mall.
Hardee’s Vice President Geoff Spear says he has confidence in the Kenyan market because it is an economic vantage point in the East African Region.
“Kenya is an open economy as there are few international brands and the one or two that are present are a monopoly. We feel that the time is right and Kenya is the best placed country to expand into as the market is very attractive,” said Spear, the head of the food company.
Speaking to Capital FM Business during the US Trade Mission tour to Kenya, Spear said that the recent attacks on the Westgate mall in no way deter their plans to invest in Kenya. “That was a one time and unfortunate event that could have happened in any country.”
“It is not unique to Kenya alone, we are based in countries within the Middle East where attacks are more rampant and far worse in the damages caused, “he added.
Spear assures that even with the recent attacks on the Mall, they will go on with their plans to put up major investments in Kenya in the next one year.
Scott Chorna, Director International New Business Development of Focus Brand a conglomerate of food based companies expressed his confidence in the government’s efforts to curb terrorism.
“We are extremely impressed by the reaction of the president and the government and the resilience by the people to move on.
“The fact that we see that they have heightened the security structures in the country and we are sure that they are working at ensuring that such attacks never happen in the future,” said Chorna.
The Kenyan government has criticized the US for issuing a travel advisory over the terror attack, saying it is likely to hurt the country’s economy or invite other western nations to follow suit.
The Foreign Affairs and International Trade Ministry described it as unfair and asked America to reverse the advisory, moments after the US State of Department issued the caution.
“We have noted, with grave concern, the 27 September 2013 re-issuing by the US government of the 5 July 2013 travel advisory to Kenya. We wish to unequivocally condemn the re-issuing of the travel advisory, and reject it as unnecessary and uncalled for,” the ministry stated.
It explained that terrorism was not a Kenyan problem but a challenge that affected the entire world. The ministry noted that the US itself was a victim, in reference to the September 11, 2001 attack.
According to the ministry, Kenya was expecting support following the Westgate mall attack that left people from different nationalities dead and injured.
“We have made these points clear to the United States government through the usual diplomatic channels. Issuing travel advisories, such as this one, is not what we expect of our friends with whom we have enjoyed cordial diplomatic relations for a long time. We expect support from our friends,” the government complained.
In its advisory on Saturday, the US urged its citizens to be wary as it had received information that there would be further attacks in Nairobi and the Kenyan coast.