Tomorrow, 24th July 2015, Kenya will host the first ever Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Sub-Saharan Africa. It’s a big deal for Kenya particularly because we have come from a period of insecurity and travel advisories that have injured our economy. Our tourism industry has suffered great losses, livelihoods have been disrupted and jobs lost but now we have been given a chance to redeem ourselves.
We have been given a chance to showcase the great and peaceful land that we know; a land of great people, vibrant youth, rich culture, world class tourism destinations and a hub for partnerships and investment.
Conference tourism is as important as any other kind of tourism. I believe it creates more opportunities because other than accommodating investors and businessmen in our hotels, we create partnerships that will grow our economy and create opportunities for our people.
As Nairobi, the Capital City of Kenya benefits from conference tourism, we need to scale down some of these events to Mombasa, Kisumu and other towns in this country. It will keep our hotels running, increase job opportunities and grow our economy.
Additionally we need our media to be ‘Kenya damu’ by promoting the Kenyan agenda during these conferences. Be part of entrenching development, promoting local entrepreneurship, sharing with our neighbors and the world what Kenya is all about. How else will they know that opportunities exist?
This is the destination investors have been looking for. I am in media and I will make sure that my media continues building this nation. If we are to achieve the growth and development we want then we need to decolonize our minds and transform. That transformation is now.
We need to be proud of each other and even welcome our neighbors to also work and partner with us. The people in East Africa are millions and we need to embrace the good neighborliness in terms of partnerships, tourism, investments and many other things.
We need to build Kenya. Let’s not think of ourselves as deal makers but as investors ready to partner with many other African and International partners to create opportunities that Kenya can be proud of tomorrow.
Let’s not look to make deals during and after the Summit. Deal makers don’t necessarily have the foresight or think of the sustainability aspect in doing business; they just want to make deals and move on. Let’s have the right attitude and realize that doing business and creating partnerships is not only about buying and selling but creating opportunities and solutions to our everyday problems.
The bigger picture is, if we do well as Kenya, then East Africa will have done well; that is why we are a common market. If we are more efficient in transporting goods, the economy of our neighbors also improves. If we build an efficient pipeline to take oil to Lamu, the rest of the countries producing oil like Uganda, benefit. If we have peace and development, our neighbors can work here, enjoy our tourist destinations, acquire education and in return that will build Kenya and the rest of the East Africa region.
So what remains behind? What’s our strategy to benefit Kenyans after the Summit?
We need to make sure that after all is said and done, after #GES2015Kenya, we will be able to sustain the brand ‘Kenya’. We will continue educating and training our youth so that we can keep the momentum going and achieve the developmental targets that vision 2030 outlined.
GES is bringing opportunities to Kenya; opening the eyes of investors, marketing Kenya as a place for investment and great human capital. It is now time to mirror and accelerate our vision 2030. We are going to achieve middle class status so we need to stop feeding on first world ‘left –overs’ and begin producing first class innovations, solutions and change-makers .
Disasters happen everywhere and it’s unfortunate Kenya has been a victim of terrorism just like the US, France among others. Once the entrepreneurs and business leaders see the potential, intellectual power and rising entrepreneurial culture, they will stop issuing travel advisories that hurt our economy and instead partner with us to fight terror.
Let’s learn from GES and promote Kenya. GES is our ‘catwalk’, let’s use it as a platform to show off our natural resources, rising industries, beautiful people, rich culture and our entrepreneurial spirit.
As we encourage Africa and the World to #ChooseKenya let us begin by choosing Kenya and promoting the spirit of ‘harambee’ (pulling together) in all that we do.
God Bless my motherland and Obama’s motherland.