Investing in Kenya.

Dear Friends.

In recent times Kenya has not had it easy in regard to matters economic or for that matter in any other areas. We have seen a good reputation of peace and harmony disappear overnight during the post election violence. In addition the global financial crisis has further exacerbated the economic decline we continue to experience.

Having said that it is important to point out some very salient indicators about our economy and the efforts that the government has taken to ensure that we mitigate and even recover from the decline. Some of you may be aware that Kenya has been experiencing a famine due to the failure of rains and the displacement of farming communities within the Rift Valley. Our tourism industry also suffered as a result of shocking television images of the post election violence and the global financial meltdown which affected our main source markets for tourism namely Europe and North America. Finally remittances from the Kenyan diaspora also declined as they also suffered loss of jobs. Furthermore revenue from our main exports declined even as oil was sustaining high prices.

Kenya beach

If you take all those factors into consideration it is actually amazing that our economy has not done much worse. One would have thought that the economy would have totally collapsed. However before all this factors ganged up on us, Kenya had seen 5 years of some of the most robust economic growth in recent decades. To understand this developments let us take stock of some recent history.

In early January 2002 the NARC government led by President Mwai Kibaki took power from former President Daniel Arap Moi [KANU] who had led Kenya for 24yrs under a one party rule.  At the time Kibaki took over GDP growth was at 0.6%. He immediately formulated a new economic blueprint known as the Economic Recovery Strategy for Wealth and Employment Creation [ERS]. By the end of his first term at the end of 2007 growth had reached 7.1%. It was then that the unfortunate events took place.

Since then however a new coalition government has taken over and begun putting the country back on the road to recovery. The government has now begun the implementation of the new economic blueprint for Kenya known as Vision 2030. This is an extremely ambitious program meant to propel Kenya into a middle income status country on the same footing as the Asian tiger economies of the Far East.


VISION 2030.

The vision 2030 blueprint has three major pillars. These are namely the following;

  • Political Pillar.

  • Social Pillar.

  • Economic Pillar. 

I will mainly focus on the third pillar which is concerned with economic prosperity. It is however important to briefly touch on the other two pillars. The political pillar envisages an issue-based, people centred, results oriented and accountable democratic political system. The social pillar vizualises a just and cohesive society enjoying equitable social development in a clean and secure environment.

The economic pillar is extremely ambitious it aims for sustained economic growth of 10% per annum. To achieve this the plan identifies six economic areas where it hopes to place the greatest emphasis. This areas are considered highly likely to succeed because Kenya has a competitive advantage in them. They are the following;

  1. Agro – processing

  2. Business Process Outsourcing

  3. Financial services

  4. Tourism

  5. Retail & Regional Trade

  6. Manufacturing.

Having identified this key areas it follows that the government  through the National Economic and Social Council sees most investments as being most profitable when directed towards this areas. However this does not mean that investors interested in other areas will not be welcome. It simply means this areas have the potential of making the geatest impact on Kenya’s growth. The following are excerpts from the vision 2030 document.

 Agriculture & AGRO – Processing.

Kenya will raise incomes in agriculture, livestock and fisheries even as industrial production and the service sector expand. This will be done by processing and thereby adding value to her products before they reach the market. She will do so in a manner that enables her producers to compete with the best in other parts of the world. This will be accomplished through an innovative, commercially oriented and modern agriculture, livestock and fisheries sector. These interventions are expected to generate an additional KSh.80 – 90 billion increase in GDP, mainly through better yields in key crops, increased smallholder specialisation in the cash crop sector (2-3 crops per plot), utilisation of a million hectares of currently uncultivated land, and new cultivation of up to 1.2 million hectares of newly-opened lands.

Specific strategies will involve the following:

 (i) transforming key institutions in agriculture and livestock to promote household and private sector agricultural growth; and

(ii) increasing productivity of crops and livestock. Kenya will also introduce new land use policies through: better utilisation of high and medium potential land.

Business Process Outsourcing

This is a new but promising sector for Kenya and especially for its young people. It involves providing business services via the Internet to companies and organisations in the developed world e.g. Britain, USA, Canada, etc. The 2030 vision for business process outsourcing is for Kenya to “quickly become the top BPO destination in Africa”. The goal for 2012 is to create at least 7,500 direct BPO jobs with an additional GDP contribution of KShs.10 billion. This will be done by attracting at least 5 major leading IT suppliers, at least 10 large multinational corporation companies and global BPO players to Kenya. This will create an estimated additional 5,000 jobs. At least 5 large local players will be identified to become local champions through stand-alone operations or joint ventures. Kenya will therefore attract top international IT suppliers to create confidence in more investments, thereby attracting leading multinational corporations and foreign companies with top BPO brands.

The Flagship BPO Project

The flagship BPO project for 2012 is to design and establish one major BPO park in Nairobi (possibly in Athi River) that will have world class infrastructure developed by top international IT suppliers. Kenya will offer competitive incentive packages for companies to locate in the park, provide a-one-stop shop for administration and talent and serve as a “showcase” park to attract more top foreign IT companies.

Financial Services.

The 2030 vision for financial services to create a vibrant and globally competitive financial sector in Kenya that will create jobs and also promote highlevels of savings to finance Kenya’s overall investment needs. As part of Kenya’s macro-economic goals, savings rates will rise from 17% to 30% of GDP in about a decade. This will be achieved through measures that include increasing of bank deposits from 44% to 80% of GDP and by a declining cost of borrowed capital i.e. interest rates. The country will also decrease the share of population without access to finance from 85% to below 70% at present, and increase stock market capitalisation from 50% to 90% of GDP. Savings of up to 10% of GDP for investment are expected to be realised from remittances, foreign direct investments (FDI), overseas development assistance (ODA) and sovereign bonds.

The flagship projects for 2012 are:

  • Facilitate the transformation of the banking sector to bring in fewer stronger and well capitalized banks.

  • Develope and execute a comprehensive model for pension reform.

  • Pursue a comprehensive remittances strategy.

  • Formulate a strategy for the issuing of benchmark sovereign bonds.

  • Implement legal and institutional reforms required for a Regional financial centre.



Tourism will be a leading sector in achieving the goals of the Vision. Kenya aims to be among the top 10 long-haul tourist destinations in the world offering a high-end, diverse, and distinctive visitor experience that few of her competitors can offer.

There are three specific goals for 2012:

  • Quadruple tourism’s GDP contribution to more than Ksh. 200 Billion.

  • Raise international visitors from 1.6 million in 2006 to 3 million in 2012, while raising average spent per visitor from the present KShs.40,000 to at least KShs.70,000; and

  • Increase hotel beds from 40,000 to at least 65,000, combined with an emphasis on high quality service.

The specific strategies for realising the goals will involve: an aggressive strategy to develop Kenya’s coast (north and south) by developing resort cities in two key locations in addition to the Isiolo resort cities; achieving higher tourism revenue yield by increasing the country’s premium safari parks and improving facilities in all under-utilised parks; creating new high value niche products (e.g. cultural, eco-sports and water-based tourism); revamping business-visitor offering by attracting high-end international hotel chains; and by investing in new conference facilities.

 Flagship Projects for Tourism  

  • Three (3) resort cities – two new resorts cities at the coast (one in north and the other at south coast). The third one will be located in Isiolo.

  • Better marketing of little-visited parks so as to bring more tourists to game parks that have not been receiving many visitors, and which are located in all parts of the country.

Wholesale, Retail & Regional Trade

The 2030 vision for wholesale and retail trade is to move towards greater efficiency in the country’s marketing system by lowering transaction costs through institutional reforms. This involves strengthening informal trade (through investment in infrastructure, training and linking it to wider local and global markets). This will raise the market share of products sold through formal channels (e.g. supermarkets) from the current 5% to 30% by 2012. This will also contribute an additional KShs.50billion to the GDP. The plan is to attract at least three new retailers with more than 10 stores each into the Kenyan market. The vision also plans to enumerate informal sector operators, to provide them with permanent and serviced facilities, training and access to credit and markets. The simplification of business registration and trade licensing will continue in order to create a more enabling business environment for all trading activity. At producer level, the plan aims to establish “Producer Business Groups” (PBGs), which will in turn feed large wholesale hubs principally in rural areas.

These hubs will be “Tier 1” retail markets that will provide the primary producer with better value than at present where markets are heavily fragmented. The Government will continue to strengthen the producer co-operative movement and assist in branding and marketing Kenyan products in regional and international markets.

The Flagship projects for Retail & Wholesale Trade.

  • Creation of at least 10 wholesale hubs and 1,000 – 1,500 Producer Business Groups (starting with a pilot project in Maragua, Central Province, that is to be extended to other regions).

  • Building of at least 10 ‘Tier 1’ retail markets (starting with a pilot project in Athi River).

  • The building of one free trade port at the coast inorder to “bring Dubai to Kenya”. This port will serve eastern and central Africa.


Kenya aims to become the provider of choice for basic manufactured goods in eastern and central Africa, before breaking into other markets by targeting “niche” products (e.g. organic foods and beverages). This will be done through improved efficiency and competitiveness at firm level. The state will invest in training, research and development. The goal for 2012 is to: generate an additional KShs.30 billion to GDP by producing consumer goods that compete with imports (without resorting to restrictions) in key local industries; and raising market share in the regional market from 7% to 15%. Kenya also intends to attract at least 10 large strategic investors in key agro-processing industries, targeting local and international markets.

Parliament NBI

Flagship Projects for Manufacturing

The flagship projects for 2008 – 2012 are:

  • The development and establishment of two economic clusters that is related industries to gain from linkage and multiplier economies.

  • The development and creation of at least 5 Small and Medium Enterprise [SME] Industrial Parks.

To ensure that this vision is achieved the government has put in place preparatory measures that span from reforms in land, security, energy, education, health, legal and political reform. If this vision is achieved Kenya will truly be on the way to becoming the paradise it can be . Kenya Yes We Can.



20 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    kenyantykoon said,

    This is a very lofty plan the government has. if only they would stop this senseless power struggle and work together for the common good then maybe these visions might be achieved before 2030. The thing is that they think that 2030 is too far away to start working seriously on these projects but its not. I remember that in the nineties we thought that the year 2000 would never come but it did didnt it?

    • 2

      jellyfishcoolman said,


      I agree with you that politicians can make or break this plan by either engaging in responsible or irresponsible behaviour. The plan though lofty is the right strategy. For a country to achieve the moon it must aim for the stars. A very easily attainable plan will not be good for spurring our full potential. However this plan is actually atainable as it is because we have all the tools needed to make it happen.

  2. 3

    sharonmoli007 said,


    Nice post whole material was informative


  3. 5

    John Karanja said,

    Its a good plan on the surface but until the government tackles Land Reform then the potential of Kenya would not be unlocked fully. Did you know if the government redistributes lands to squatters and gives them title deeds. Then within a few years that land will accrue in value because of the labour and investment the squatters would put. This could double the size of the agricultural sector in a few years and boost the economy dramatically.

    Read my article on Mobile Revolution here

    • 6

      jellyfishcoolman said,


      The paperization of the assets of the poor has been acknowledged as one of the tools that could help eradicate mass poverty. It is true that issuing title deeds to squatters would be a great economic boost for the country. To do so however requires land reform because the current law can be abused. We also cant give all squatters land in the current areas they are occupying case in point is Mau Forest or other water catchment areas and water towers.

      The cabinet however is in the process of approving the rationalization of land laws into a single land code which will bring all land law into only 3 Acts. This would simplify land litigation cases and allow easier land transactions. It would also guarantee security of tenure and land use. With this issue of land being addressed under so called Agenda 4 and the proposed Constitutional Review their is a possibility of some positive direction.

  4. 7

    John Karanja said,

    Thats a good and comprehensive answer. I believe we can hit the $100 Billion in G.D.P relatively soon. What are your thoughts in Kenya making cellphones and perhaps computers. We will have the internal market for this and we are allready doing well in COMESA. Also virtually all the raw materials are here. We shoud lobby for this once the Digital Economy is established.

    I have written a comprehensive article on the Mobile Revolution check it out


    • 8

      jellyfishcoolman said,


      I had already read your post even left a comment. I think the idea of actual manufacturing of technology is the way to go. It has to be said that is a highly competitive area but it can be done if we get the right investment climate.

      East African Cables has shown we just need to be bold and go for it. If we can manufacture fibre-optic cables we can manufacture silicon or optical chips. We need to woo one of the asian tigers like South Korea or China to set up a facility. We could offer a very healthy tax break and low power coupled with our cheap labour.

  5. 9

    John Karanja said,

    Yeah Zambia has started manufacturing its own cellphones. So it is possible

  6. 10

    Smith said,

    I regular visit your blog and read your topic and I really appreciate it. Do you know that Tata Consultancy Services aims to make its business process outsourcing business worth $3 billion in the next five years.

    • 11

      jellyfishcoolman said,

      Hi Smith.

      Welcome officially to my blog. I appreciate your interest and kind words. I didn’t know of Tata’s plans though I have been following their telecomms news on fibre-optics. They are a truly revolutionary company for India and have greatly boosted that country’s industrial image globally. I hope that they will invest more of their money in Kenya because I believe they can make some money.

      I look forward to further comments from you on how we can make Kenya a more attractive destination for FDI [Foreign Direct Investment]. Once again thanks and keep coming back because I value your feedback immensely.

      • 12

        John said,

        Hi jelly, really we are very big fans of your blogs all are informative. We will know some different news about any topic. Now business process outsourcing became a big revenue generated business in all countries for all small sectors and bid sectors. You said The 2030 vision for business process outsourcing is for Kenya to “quickly become the top BPO destination in Africa”. This was really great thing to have such big goals in life. Really needs to play big game in our life. All the Best!!!!

  7. 13

    maggie said,

    By now, how would you assess the contribution of the hospitality industry towards improving the negative image of Kenya govt after post-election violence?

    • 14

      jellyfishcoolman said,

      Hi Maggie.

      I can only say they are trying and in my opinion that is the best that one can do. I have seen their ads on CNN which I think is a good idea. The brand Kenya initiative and the efforts to market Kenya are also commendable. Having said that Kenyans also need to know the value of supporting their own country by encouraging positive news and thinking.

      It will not be very helpful to market Kenya if we the ordinary citizens constantly criticize our govt, or initiatives. I am a die hard optimist though and so I am not deterred by all the negative news. I therefore encourage the hospitality industry to go on doing their good work eventually it will pay off.

  8. 15

    Florence said,

    Hi! Absolutely loved your blog! Its exciting to hear about all the plans for revamping tourism and cant wait to see when everything falls into place. In the meantime, we need to do our best and play our part in marketing our country because we have so much to offer and Kenya is truly a haven for tourists and locals alike! We are blessed with an abundance of natural resources that we need to protect and showcase to the rest of the world.

    • 16

      jellyfishcoolman said,

      Hi Florence.

      Thanks for the support. We need more Kenyans like yourself who are positively oriented and want to work through our problems. It’s not useful to criticize while doing nothing or suggesting solutions. You are indeed right about the potential Kenya has and the need to market it. I am confident the next few yrs will see alot of reforms implemented which will make Kenya very attractive to investors and tourists but we must all do our part in preparing for this time. Thank you for your coment and welcome to my blog.

  9. 17

    Very Useful post.. thanks a lot .. and other posts also very informative…..

  10. 18

    vakantiehuis said,

    Leuke site!. Er zijn nog weinig goede sites over dit onderwerp te vinden.
    Ben blij met jullie post!
    Ik kan helaas geen bookmark aanmaken naar in Firefox. 😦 Weten jullie hoe dit komt?

    Groetjes Barbara

  11. 19

    After exploring a number of the blog posts on
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  12. 20

    brown said,

    Investing in business without skills in a failure.Most kenyans should empower themselves with business and entrepreneurship skills.This will provide a means of employment and improve our economy.Check books on business and financial empowerment at

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