Kenya: Epicentre of Africa’s future entrepreneurship

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BY JOSHUA OIGARA

This week and the coming days, Kenya will be at the epicentre of global attention as Nairobi hosts the Global Entrepreneurship Summit which will be graced by US President Barack Obama.

This summit that brings thousands of entrepreneurs running some of the biggest businesses in the world marks the biggest swerve for economic growth and transformation in the country and across the East African region.

This is clearly an African moment. It is exciting that across all the countries in Africa, Kenya was selected to host such a summit that has brought into Nairobi global billionaires and some of the greatest business minds the world has to offer. And the bigger journey is coming. The event is demonstrating Kenya’s strength as a country, the innovation spirit for our people across the region and our ability to build a bigger potential for our transformation across telecommunications, innovation and businesses, agriculture, industries and other sector.

Kenya as a country is going through an exciting stage. The latest World Bank Report indicates that the Kenyan economy is expected to grow 6 percent this year; up from an earlier projection of 4.7 percent has made the country, an envy amongst her peers across the region and Africa. The attainment of the lower-middle-income status to become the fifth-largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa has put the country at a very strategic position as it emerges as the most promising economy in the emerging markets.

We are already seeing all the EA countries moving up the World Bank’s Doing Business benchmark index. In the next two years, I believe that Kenya is going to make it to the top 20, top 30 best countries to do business. We have seen Rwanda already at that level.

Kenya is a very exciting country -the optimism, the energy, the enthusiasm and also the innovation. If you look at the big innovations like mobile money in the last eight years, our innovations in businesses like enterprises into horticulture exporting into European markets, our transportation sector and logistics into the region, Kenya naturally plays a big frontier.

Whether it is in Nairobi, or in Lagos, or in South Africa, or in the Middle East, or in European markets, that ethic to go out and build a new business and look for solutions is depicts the Kenyan heritage. I am always very excited as an organization when I am in let’s say in New York, or Washington, or California or London and I find Kenyan entrepreneurs running logistic innovation businesses, airline businesses across the world. So Kenya is playing a global study of global businesses in its space in Africa. And this is going to be. If you look at our population in the region, we have roughly 200 million people within the six countries.

We have very strong neighbours, we have Egypt in the north, we have the DRC and Mozambique on the side, Zambia as well and Somalia. This is a natural market for us; the average age is around 25 and when you look at that, the opportunity, these are very connected people. That is the space, with the demographics right, the innovation right, if I look at the innovation hubs, the ICT hubs, the technology labs in Nairobi today, the silicon savannah we talk about in Kenya; Technology is going to be a big frontier. Nairobi is bubbling globally for the innovation and technology.

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