Speaking at the Barclays Africa Forum in Canary Wharf London, CS Mohamed said the arguments that Kenya was looking East towards China and other Asian countries while abandoning her traditional allies was misleading.
“We are today living in a multi-polar world where all countries benefit from increased foreign investments. Like any other country in the world today, we are looking for opportunities across the world whether in our traditional allies markets or in emerging markets,” said CS Mohamed.
She assured participants that Kenya valued its traditional development partners and is keen to preserve and consolidate relations with them even as it engages other players in the global arena.
She said the Barclays Africa Forum was timely since it presented a unique opportunity for investors to acquire insights pertaining to trade and investments in Africa.
“I thank Barclays for hosting this event and for continuing to assist not only investors already operating in Africa but also those looking to expand their operations in the continent,” she said.
She said the huge presence of representatives of British businesses is an indication of the growing interest in Africa and a reflection of shared desire to forge a new agenda that will drive growth and prosperity for all.
CS Mohamed said the there is a new narrative in Africa that is far removed from the Afro pessimist narrative of the 1980s and 90s, that today talks of an African continent on the rise.
“Today in Africa democracy, political and economic stability have taken root; economies have become more open, societies more tolerant; and macro-economic indicators more stable and predictable,” said the CS.
The results have been higher economic growth rates and a majority of the world’s fastest growing economies today are in Africa. Foreign Direct Investments in the continent have increased and more than almost all other regions of the world, Africa offers better rates of return for enterprises that are establishing new marketing networks, new brands as well as innovative products.
CS Mohamed said it was now easier to register businesses in Africa; tax systems are clearer and simpler, investment protection laws are stronger, and fiscal management is more prudent.
Consequently, Africa’s doing business rankings and transparency indicators have improved remarkably. This has led to a tremendous increase in the number of companies racing to establish a foothold in the continent.
She urged the UK to be part of this ‘invaluable’ part of unfolding narrative of the African renaissance.
“You have the resources, the expertise and skills in sectors as diverse as the financial services and the knowledge economy to oil and gas, green energy, agriculture and infrastructure. These are all areas in which British companies can add value that would be mutually beneficial in the long term,” urged Mohamed.