NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 8 – Equity Bank’s Chief Executive Officer James Mwangi Monday appealed for development of entrepreneurship in the country to further economic growth.
Mwangi who spoke at the launch of a World Bank-sponsored book entitled “Developing Africa’s Financial Service – the importance of High Impact Entrepreneurship” said a lot of the country’s economic potential remained untapped something he said was an impediment to unleashing Kenya’s full potential.
“If we truly want to change African we have to prepare the next generation to became entrepreneurs who are hungry for growth so that we truly can create sufficient wealth that can cure our poverty problem,” he said during the launch that brought together dozens of entrepreneurs, scholars and business leaders who included Bidco Africa Group Chairperson Vimal Shah and Optiven Limited CEO George Wachiuri.
During the launch of the book which has been edited by policy and innovation expert Prof Dana Redford, Mwangi highlighted the expansion of Equity Bank from a customer base 27,000 to 12.1 million as an example of the great potential that lies in entrepreneurship.
He described innovation and customer value – the difference between what a client gets from a product and what he or she spends on it – as a cornerstone for every success story as far as entrepreneurship is concerned.
According to Mwangi, Equity’s development of an affordable and accessible financial service to cater for the huge number of an unbaked population opened up innumerable economic opportunities for the bank which was first listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange in 2006.
Mwangi said the bank has enjoyed a tremendous growth of up to ten times every five years moving up from the tenth largest financial institution in market capitalization in 2006 to the largest bank in market capitalization twelve years later.
During the launch, participants engaged in discussions centred on the development of entrepreneurial skills and training in centres of learning.
The forum came just a day after it emerged that high cost of living, hunger, and unemployment were Kenya’s greatest challenges accounting 72 per cent of the problems faced by the populace.
Inflation, according to a study Ipsos research was recorded by 29 per cent of which 1,007 respondents sampled between December 20 and 22 their main concern for the year 2018.
The poll with a confidence level of 95 per cent, and a sampling error of +/- 3.1 identified hunger as the second largest concern with 25 per cent of the respondents identifying it as a threat.
According to a Kenya Humanitarian Report released on December 6 3.4 million Kenyans are said to be food insecure.
Unemployment at the third place scored eighteen per cent in the poll with World Bank statistics showing that at least eleven per cent of the labour force in the country faced unemployment in 2017 despite it having fallen from 11.9 and 11.3 per cent in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
The book launch was also graced by among others Gitahi Gachahi, the CEO at Ernst and Young East Africa, Kenya Association of Manufacturers’ CEO Phyllis Wakiaga, Strathmore University Business School Dean, Dr George Njenga, and former Information and Communication Principal Secretary Bitange Ndemo.