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KenInvest ups its game to attract trade

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 8 – The Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest) has launched a 100-day Rapid Results Initiative (RRI) to improve the country’s investment climate by modernising the handling of enquiries and creating awareness for investment opportunities in Kenya.

The RRI programme is aimed at fast-tracking the implementation of the new Constitution and delivery of the Kenya Vision 2030, focusing on results rather than processes.

KenInvest chairman Mwangi Ngumo announced that their vision is to make Kenya a country of choice for investments. “The investment paradigm is now changing,” he declared.

“Before, people only used to insist on incentives such as how many tax holidays they can receive; how many work permits can be given and how much free land they can get, but now people are starting to ask for returns on their investments,” he said.

Ngumo pointed out that for investors to get healthy returns, issues such as energy, infrastructure and security must be sorted out in the market.

“I have seen instances where Direct Domestic Investments (DDI) and small scale enterprises have been forced to close their businesses because they are not from the locations that they’ve placed their business in,” he said.

“In some cases, we hate each other more than we hate foreigners,” he stressed.

Ngumo emphasised the importance for KenInvest employees to be entrepreneurs with experience of investing in their own businesses first, before they are allowed to advice people planning to invest in Kenya.

“How can employees of KenInvest for instance, advice people to come and invest in Kenya if they’re based somewhere in an office and they’re not going out to where the real entrepreneurs are?” he asked.

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“We must require them to invest in their own businesses because the business of promoting investments in Kenya must be the business of all Kenyans,” he asserted.

KenInvest Managing Director Julius Korir said that they plan to work closely with investors and the government, while embracing technology in order to improve the speed, efficiency and transparency during the investing process.

“There has to be a change in perception by investors because there’s so much that is happening in terms of investment opportunities in Kenya that they might not know about,” he explained.

“There are two initiatives we’re working on; the ability to capture investor concerns so we can package them in a manner to relay them to government and to create a platform that provides a one stop shop for investors,” he revealed.

The web portal that they’ve developed is the Digital One Stop Shop (DOSS), an online platform that creates a single window for investor facilitation which reduces costs, allows for transparency in dealing with investors, makes the process of investing more efficient, and eliminates having to deal with multiple agencies.

“For instance, let’s say I’m an investor interested in agriculture. I’ll be able to click on the portal and find what opportunities are available in the agriculture sector,” he said.

“Then there are step by step requirements on how I’ll be able to access those opportunities and once I’ve identified one that fits my interests, I can click the application form, fill it in, attach my project and submit,” he explained.

Korir revealed that over the next three months, they plan to use DOSS to reduce average pre-establishment lead time for project registration from 60 to 30 days, and to automate the payment system in order to decrease payment time to suppliers from 90 to 60 days.

Internally, they are working on reducing the turnaround time in procurement, the disposal of idle assets and the implementation of the Performance Appraisal System (PAS).

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“The web portal will have information concerning how to start and register a business, regulation and licensing requirements and information on the different investment sectors,” he stated.

The online investment portal will be available to investors tomorrow as a link on KenInvest’s website

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