By James Anyanzwa
It also expressed strong commitment towards helping Kenya fast-track productivity and competitiveness of her economy.
The bank’s Vice President for the Africa region Mr Makhtar Diop said the country should continue creating environment conducive for private sector to thrive. Diop said Kenya has a good chance of being an economic leader in Africa due to its recognition of a vibrant private sector as engine of economic growth.
“At a time when many countries in Africa were struggling with the idea of the private sector as the engine of growth, Kenya had already embraced this concept,” he noted.
Diop observed that the Kenyan domestic private sector has grown to be a world leader in sectors such as cut flowers, tea and coffee production, and a significant player in areas such as services, ICT, and air transport. “Today we have a consensus on the need for sound macroeconomic policy, just as there is a consensus in Africa that the private sector will be the engine of growth,” he stated during the official opening of new World Bank headquarters in Nairobi’s Upper Hill.
Diop observed that today, Kenya is at a crossroads and expressed hope the country would soon ascend to middle-income status. He, however, added that ascending to middle-income status brings with it challenges as well. He said Kenya should strive to reduce hurdles and bureaucracy that impede growth.
He said the reforms and improvements to the Port of Mombasa are already having a significant positive impact on reducing the cost of doing business in Kenya and elsewhere in the sub-region.
Diop said it would require accelerated investment in infrastructure to close the gap between the middle-income countries with which Kenya will compete.