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Investors wary of endless politics

NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 7 – Heightened political activity in the country over the last two years is eroding investor confidence.

Two indices released by the Brand Kenya Board show that the country has been gradually slipping as a preferred destination for investment.

Chief Executive Officer Mary Kimonye said on Thursday that according to the global competitive index, Kenya had slipped eight places on account of political tension.

The index which focuses on the business and investment environment of a country, ranks Kenya at 106 out of 139 countries compared to 2009 where it ranked 98th .

"The enquiries that we are getting from investors are for us to confirm whether there is stability because of all the things they are hearing," Mrs Kimonye said.

According to the index, respondents were not certain the current political environment supports business.

While there has been general growth across major sectors of the economy such as tourism, agriculture and manufacturing, investors are concerned that politics could reverse the gains.

Rwanda, the newest entrant to the survey ranked highest among five east African countries 80th position while Uganda was 113th.

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance has said there has been a decline of foreign investment further raising concern that the situation could get worse if the political situation remains unchecked.

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Speaking during a quarterly briefing, Mrs Kimonye said that the index also showed that Kenya\’s image had dropped to 68th from 58th out of 102 countries.

She said Brand Kenya was embarking on an international campaign in an effort of boosting confidence in Kenya as ideal destination.

"We want to go out there and change the perception that the country is not stable by highlighting all the other positive things that the country has to offer," she said.

Brand Kenya will have a major exhibition at the Boston Marathon this April where it expects to engage with over 80,000 potential investors.

The model is expected to be replicated in all other major marathons as well as during the IRB 7\’s circuit.

Brand Kenya is also engaging with other marketing agencies such as Kenya Investment Authority and the Kenya Tourist Board to pool resources and conduct joint marketing exercises in future.

It has also enlisted the help of Interbrand Sampson East Africa to develop a master plan for Kenya that would address tourism, investment opportunities, and economic and foreign policies.

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