NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 17 – The Government has prepared a national trade development policy aimed at improving the country’s business environment, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.
He said the policy – which recognizes the private sector as the key driver of economic development – has created a platform for an enabling business-friendly regulatory framework for the trade sector.
“But even as we celebrate the achievements that have made it possible for us to stand here today, let me remind you all, once again, that the private sector is not an end in itself. Its role is to generate the jobs and growth that will bring freedom and prosperity. Kenyans expect no less. Kenyans will settle for no less,” President Kenyatta said.
The President was speaking when he officially opened the iconic multi-billion Two Rivers Mall at Runda in Nairobi.
President Kenyatta pointed out that easing of the business climate has always been at the heart of his Administration’s economic policy.
“I am very pleased to report substantial progress. In 2013, when we began, Kenya was ranked 136th in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index. Since then, we’ve moved up 44 positions,” the President said.
He added: “And, I must say, I am grateful for the help we have received from the private sector – both formally and informally – as it has constantly engaged us, always seeking improvement.”
President Kenyatta emphasized the need for positive transformation that will ensure full exploitation of the country’s potential to create jobs for the youth.
“I speak to young people often: they are full of energy; and they are ready to work, and most importantly, they are innovative. We need to find them dignified and rewarding work; work that enables them to use their talents to the full,” the President said.
He added: “We need transformation because it is the only way we will promote prosperity and conquer poverty in this country.”
Noting that the path to prosperity and freedom is by growing the economy and ensuring the benefits of growth are equitably shared, President Kenyatta said that is the transformation his Administration is promoting.
The President described the opening of the new shopping mall as a step on that road to prosperity and freedom for every Kenyan, applauding the partnership between foreign and local investors that made the project successful.
Noting that the Industrial Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC) and the Co-operative Bank of Kenya played a role in the project, the President said it showed that the country’s financial sector has matured.
He expressed satisfaction that a significant proportion of inputs in the project were procured locally – a move which spreads the benefits of the project right through the economy.
“Indeed, I gather that Two Rivers has already created about 2,500 jobs, and that this number is expected to quadruple to 10,000 as subsequent phases of this project are implemented,” the President said.
Other speakers included Industrialization Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed, Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, Centum Investment Company Chairman Chris Kirubi, Chief Executive Officer James Mworia and Chinese Ambassador Liu Xianfa.