, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 23 – President Uhuru Kenyatta met a senior executive of the International Finance Corporation Tuesday and discussed support for the private sector in delivering his Big Four agenda.
President Kenyatta sought the active engagement of the IFC in securing cheap financing as well as lifting the capacity of the private sector so they could participate in large-scale projects.
IFC Vice President for Middle East and Africa Sergio Pimenta met President Kenyatta at State House.
The President’s Big Four is food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and affordable healthcare for all.
Pimenta said the IFC, the World Bank’s private sector lending arm, was keen to partner with the government to deliver on an economic agenda focused on investment in the social sectors.
“We will be looking at how we can train small and medium entrepreneurs to enable them benefit from many tenders which are being availed in various sectors of the economy,” said Pimenta.
“Specifically, our interest is in building the capacity of SMEs, including exploring discussions around mergers, so they can bid for projects on an equal footing with major companies from China or elsewhere,” he added.
President Kenyatta said he is focused to achieve his Big Four agenda, as well as a drive to put resources in social sectors.
“To achieve the Big Four we will require partnership with the private sector, so that they can take advantage of the good foundation we have laid over the past few years to deliver to ordinary citizens,” the president said.
“It requires that the private sector looks at its investment models, look at how they can support affordable housing, see how they can invest in agriculture so we can meet our food security and nutrition goals,” the President said.
“It requires that we look at how to further support SMEs so that they invests in manufacturing and agro-processing,” the President added.
But to reach these goals also requires that we continue to invest in education, and especially in skills development,” he added.
Pimenta said the IFC would explore how to further support the private sector, especially with raising funds that could go to projects such as affordable housing. At present, for example, Kenya meets less than a tenth of mortgage lending demand due to cost issues.