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Kenya woos the French

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 2 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has wooed French investors to explore the untapped potentials in the local market.

He told a delegation of visiting executive officials of multinational companies to seize the unexploited opportunities in Kenya, especially now that the country was geared towards promotion of infrastructural development.

The Premier encouraged the foreign investors to engage the coalition government in Public Private Partnership ventures for mutual benefit of all parties to facilitate the economic growth of the country.

“Our commercial sector is yours for the taking since the coalition government had prioritised infrastructural investment as the gateway to realisation of Vision 2030,” he declared.

Mr Odinga said both parties under the coalition government pledged to emphasise infrastructural development during the pre-election campaigns and asserted his resolve to see the promise achieved.

He said the current administration wanted to eliminate bottlenecks that discouraged investors and inculcate a conducive business environment that was free of red tape, corruption and security concerns.

But the Premier challenged the developed world to open their markets to local products to bridge the trade imbalance and enable the country completely pull out of retrogressive overdependence on aid handouts.

“Developing nations like ours is rich with unexploited resources which when harnessed in a fair business environment could propel the country to a middle income economy sooner than expected” he said.
For these reasons, he said, the coalition pushed for expansion of budgetary allocation to improve the infrastructure and open up the local market to both local and foreign investors to accelerate economic growth.

He informed the business community that the local economy was yearning for the input of the private sector to bridge the investment deficit the public sector was experiencing due to financial constraints.

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He gave examples of the energy, transport, housing and the communication sectors where priority was placed but implementation of the developed blue prints was sluggish due to a shortage of resources.

Owing to the hitches, the Premier unveiled government plans to concession selected road and rail network projects to overcome the financial hiccup.

“We are actually shopping for partners to help us put a standard rail gauge network connecting Ethiopia, Southern Sudan, and Uganda with the Mombasa and the proposed Lamu port,” he said.
He told the delegation during a courtesy call at his Treasury offices to consider exploring ways of investing on green energy production after hydro power generation proved challenging in recent times due to adverse climatic conditions.

Others present during the session were French ambassador Elisabeth Barbier and the Kenya Investment Authority Managing Director Susan kikwai.

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