NAIROBI, September 12- The government has pledged to continue with its reform programmes to give the country an internationally competitive business environment.
President Mwai Kibaki Friday said the continued improvement of the investment environment in the country would provide a conducive business climate for the private sector to operate in.
“I hope that these investments will encourage both foreign and local investors to expand their businesses and diversify into new areas,” he said.
Speaking during the official opening of the new Coca Cola Headquarters in Upper Hill, Nairobi, the Head of State said Kenya was the regional destination of choice for investors and added that the government would work to strengthen local production capacity and attract more foreign direct investment.
He lauded Coca Cola’s decision to locate its regional headquarters in Kenya adding that the move attests that they have faith in Kenya.
The Coca Cola Headquarters sits on four acres of land and was constructed at a cost of Sh700million ($10million).
“I am happy to note that the Coca Cola Company has made important strides in ensuring that their technology is up-to-date, resulting in better utilisation of resources and maximisation of output,” President Kibaki said.
He noted that Coca Cola was a leading player in the soft drinks industry which plays a key role in Kenya’s economy in terms of employment creation and tax revenue generation.
The company is providing employment to an estimated 13,000 people directly in bottling activities and a further 700,000 through auxiliary services within the supply chain.
“I want to commend the soft drinks industry for operating an elaborate and well developed supply chain. This is in line with Kenya’s 2030, which encourages the development of strong supply chains for both wholesale and retail establishments.
Coca Cola Company Chairman Neville Isdell said by having their headquarters in Kenya, they were reaffirming their commitment to the country.
“This marks a great day in the 122 year-history in the Coca Cola Company. We are committing to be your partners in a stable and prosperous future for everyone,” he stressed.
He promised that they would be a great partner in employment creation, economic development and environmental sustainability.
“With this building, we want to demonstrate that we are here to stay,” Isdell added, explaining that they chose Kenya as their headquarters due to its geographical location as the gateway to East Africa.
“We chose Kenya because of its improving communication infrastructure. We chose Kenya because its one of our priority markets that we disproportionably invest in,” he emphasised.
Isdell added that the construction, which started 16 months ago, also took into consideration the need to conserve the environment.
He added that the building was constructed in a way that would help them manage critical resources such as water and electricity.
“We have put in environmentally-friendly features such as solar panels on the rooftop that will be used to heat water for the kitchen, gym and washrooms and rainwater harvesting structures to supplement landscape irrigation,” he explained.
The structure has the capacity to hold up to 50,000 litres of water.