, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 12 – Last month’s peaceful elections, an orderly transition of leadership coupled with the largely smooth implementation of reforms has placed Kenya at a very strong position of influence in Africa, according to the Kenya Investment Authority.
Managing Director Moses Ikiara says Kenya is well primed to shape intra-African trade which would not only be key for economic growth of the continent, but would also strengthen Africa’s voice in global decision making processes.
“I think we had around 12 Heads of State from the continent who attended the inauguration (on Tuesday). I believe their attendance showed they were happy about the process and it also demonstrated that Kenya was in good relations with them,” Ikiara said in an interview with Capital FM Business.
“This was a strong statement that we can build on and show the whole world that it’s possible to be democratic and united. Unity will make us have more say, like when we would want trade barriers removed by the western countries and export more products in their countries,” he said.
He however notes that the continent would still not stand on its own as it needs to market its products to the global markets.
“Kenya is very important in Africa, and I think it’s not news, we already knew that. Having all those presidents around means we can act as an example to the rest of the continent and help promote trade,” he noted.
Meanwhile, on Kenya’s relations with China, Ikiara said there should be not perception that Kenya wants to neglect its relations with the West.
“I think most of our long time Western partners have expressed their commitment to continue working together with Kenya even after we voted for Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto. I believe the best thing for the two is to respect the ICC (International Criminal Court) process and everything will be as usual,” he said.
In the last 10 years, various State-owned firms and private companies have become major investors in Africa, with China being the single largest bilateral source of annual foreign investment in Africa.
As of mid 2012, China’s Ministry of Commerce estimated that cumulated foreign direct investment in Africa to have exceeded $14.7 billion (Sh1.2 trillion).
“Here in Kenya I would just want to encourage Kenyan investors to also seek ways of growing themselves and not only wait for the international investors expected to increase in the country. Because I would say I am receiving close to three investors per day since the Supreme court ruling.”