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Investment requires a credible government

August 5, 2011 by

Anyone who has considered venturing out into a new business line, new market segment or a new partnership will tell you it is an arduous decision.

To be successful, one must take into consideration many factors including the micro, macro, external and internal environments.  It is a process that requires one to conduct due diligence on the potential partner, the business and regulatory environments among others.

When all is said and done and assuming you have taken all the measures recommended by the most reputable business schools, when it is crunch time… you must make the decision to advance or to cut your losses.

For me, that final decision is often based on a ‘gut feeling’.  I must believe that my potential partner is a credible one.  Perhaps believe that there exists a viable business opportunity whose benefits far outweigh the risk of investment.

I use this example because I know that the running of our country must similarly be conducted systematically.  If indeed we aspire to take over as a regional hub; to attract more foreign direct investment, then we must do more to reinforce positive sentiments of our national image.

It is no longer enough to say that we have a new constitutional dispensation.  Our government must continue to show its dedication to the implementation of the same within the set timeframes.

Think about it… what if Parliament is not able to complete debating and passing the pending Bills?  What does that say of our commitment to issues which may be of lesser importance than the Constitution?  For instance, the implementation of the EA common market protocol?  Can our country then be entrusted with a hefty investment by foreigners seeking to access the EA market?

Another concern is the fact that we always seem to lose focus in the middle of important tasks.  The in-fighting in some of the commissions implementing the Constitution and in Parliament itself is a perfect example of this challenge.

Why is it that we always allow our attention to be diverted to the drama instead of focusing on matters that require tangible actions?  If indeed there is a basis to these accusations, the government arm that is mandated to investigate impropriety should step up to the plate.  But the real work shouldn’t be allowed to suffer.

In my opinion, when we allow ourselves to be consumed by energy wasting activities, then we are displaying to the world and to potential investors our ignorance and it becomes even more difficult to convince them that Kenya is the place to be in the region, especially now when elections are around the corner and the 2008 post electoral violence is still fresh in our memory.

Lastly, I want to say that a huge part of being credible means sticking to all agreements that we are party to.  Such commitments should never be taken lightly, unless of course our sovereignty is the consideration at stake.

When this is not the case, I find it is grossly unjust for our leaders to renege on such agreements in order to protect the interests of a few who are central to government operations.

Such actions demonstrate at a global scale, our unwillingness to fulfill our obligations when the shoe pinches us.  They send a clear message to other countries, bilateral and multilateral organisations, that our leaders will almost always sacrifice the country to salvage vested interests.  This begs the question of who is greater in our eyes; our country or a few well-connected individuals.

In my view, investors want to partner with somebody who is reliable despite the circumstances.  As consumers when we are loyal to certain brands, it is because we know what to expect at any given time and will not feel shortchanged on our part of the bargain.

Essentially, the risks mentioned above send a message to the world that Kenyans cannot be trusted and hence they will always deter our economic growth.

Kenya must be a brand that is credible through the tough times and the good times and we must continue to preserve and protect our desired national image if we are to achieve our visions.

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