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Nigeria’s deficit is projected at 2.2 trillion naira ($11 billion, 10 billion euros) out of a total budget of 6.08 trillion naira/AFP

Ask Kirubi

Lessons from Mauritius Part 2

Chris Kirubi

Last week in the first part of the lessons from Mauritius, we discussed 5 lessons that I learned from the Mauritius. Today, in the final part, I want to take you through a journey on the benefits of branding and the power of effort.

Brand Positioning

As is said in PR, a skunk is killed by the bad publicity it gives itself. Instead of always exporting news of riots and mayhem from our country, why don’t we talk about the hot bed of all the good things that are going on for this nation? And instead of always speaking pessimistically about Kenya, why don’t we stir up the patriotism in us and say that yes, Kenya like many other countries has challenges but we will not dwell on the negatives all the time. Why don’t we speak proudly about our parks, beaches, conference facilities, honeymoon destinations, beautiful landscapes among others? My dream of Kenya is a place that will be seen by the world as a land of opportunities, beauty, hospitality and the best hope of Africa.

How many of us, given a chance, would rather visit Mauritius or an exclusive destination in Kenya? Your guess is as good as mine. Mauritius is in the list of the top ten islands in the world nominated for the 2016 Travelers’ Choice Award by Trip advisor. However, we can promote Brand Kenya to rival some of the best destinations in the world. Let’s maintain our beaches to be white and clean. When we go for holidays, let us not litter around the beach and let’s fight poaching with every might within us. They sell the beach and mountains while we have all that, plus much more, why don’t we take the lead position in tourism?

Branding in Mauritius

When I told some of my friends that I am in Mauritius, a lot of them found it hard to believe that I was there for work and not on a leisure trip. One thing I admire about Mauritius is how they have created a strong brand as one of the best leisure destination in the world.

What makes Mauritius unique? For starters, the country scooped the best country to do business in Africa by World Bank doing business 2016. In addition, the Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance 2016 named Mauritius as ‘As a success story of Good Governance in Africa.’

Kenya has made major strides in simplifying how business is done, both for locals and foreigners. The Huduma centers and E-Citizen  platform is altering the business landscape in Kenya. But why are we not leading as a preferred business and leisure destination in Africa? Let us break down bottlenecks that are slowing us down, we must crush the Goliath of corruption. Kenyans together must unite and say that the promised land is nearer, we will reach it.


It takes hard work

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When people look at my life, some imagine that everything I’ve got came on a silver platter. On the contrary, I disciplined myself. I started from the basement but now I’m in a pent house. When I was speaking to the Vice President of Mauritius H. E. Mr. Vapoory we both realized we had to work hard to get to where we are now. Young people, some opportunities will knock on your door but you will have to literally chase some. Don’t be a jack of all trades and a master of none, but with a killer whale’s focus, chase your dreams till they become a reality.

When I was in Mauritius, the question that they frequently asked in many forums I spoke in was this, “how come you are not in politics?” To me, that is the most common mistake many African leaders make. Is it only in politics or through politics that we can change people’s lives? Absolutely not.

I chose to be a leader in business and not in politics. I create over 5,000 jobs that change lives by simply being an entrepreneur.

Exposure is vital to progress

As Africans, we need to give scholarships to African students to study in other African universities instead of going to the western countries. The first and most important step is to empower our Universities so that they are as competent as those abroad. This will ensure that we as Africans can give solutions to African problems. When students study in foreign countries they get foreign solutions and some of them stay there leading to brain drain.

Exposure is vital to progress. When you travel across the world, you get to see opportunities and the veil of ignorance in lifted. Since young people are living in an interconnected and mobile world, i would want to urge each and everyone to take advantage of scholarships and exchange programs across Africa so that the dream of being leading continent is birthed right here in Africa.

For example, Mauritius gives about 50 scholarships to African students per year. They are working towards increasing these numbers. Other African nations should also follow suit. More Kenyan youth should, therefore, look to further their studies there. As a matter of fact, there are 8 Kenyan students in Mauritius. It is an excellent opportunity to be bilingual, make inter cultural partnerships and to speak both French and English.

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