CS Miano's new push for ease of doing business in Kenya laudable

Trade and Investment Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Miano during an interview with the Standard. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Every so often, policy measures are instituted that have a direct impact on the economic well-being of the country. Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Miano’s recent launch of the Karibu Business Support Centres is one such measure. It reveals prescient thinking on the part of the CS and her team working behind the scenes to enable ease of doing business in Kenya.

Businesses are key drivers of economic growth. Yet anyone setting up shop in Kenya will, more often than not, be hamstrung by the numerous rules and procedures required. Even on the best of days, information on investment opportunities is never usually forthcoming without a monetary inducement demanded by some who must be suborned to provide crucial services.

The Karibu centres are the perfect antidote. They are at once a source of information and, at the same time, facilities to aid in the registration of businesses. Karibu centres are a one-stop shop! And therein lies the genius; that under one roof, anyone desiring to set up a business in the country can obtain information on investment, manufacturing and trade, expedite the administrative procedures that one requires to operate a business, get facilitation to access regional and global markets amongst other services.

The other stroke of genius lies in the fact that Karibu centre services will be accessible from multiple purpose-built locations.

There are centres in Kisumu, Eldoret, Mombasa and Kariobangi South in Nairobi to be operationalised in the coming weeks as others are later rolled out in a phased manner countrywide. Having access from multiple locations obviates the need to travel long distances for those in need of Karibu services.

Yet another stroke of genius is the simultaneous establishment of the Karibu Business Support Online Portal. This virtual service offers the same access to comprehensive business information and interaction with government agencies on matters of investment, industry and trade. It aligns with two things: the concept of a digital government where the old way of doing things is discarded in favour of new, effective approaches. Second, it appeals to Kenya’s youthful and tech-savvy demographic cohort whose numbers are a boon to the economy in terms of production and markets.

The value of ease of doing business in a country cannot be gainsaid.

In fact, there is a global ranking for countries dependent on the conduciveness of the regulatory environment in starting and operating a local firm. According to a World Bank report, Kenya is ranked 4th in Africa after Mauritius, Rwanda and Morocco. It is 56th globally out of 190 countries reviewed.

A conducive environment to start and operate a business will not only enhance domestic and foreign investment in trade and manufacturing but also increase the contribution of the same to the country’s GDP.

Which is why CS Miano and her team at the Ministry of Investments, Trade and Industry deserve plaudits. They have worked quietly but effectively to overcome the bureaucratic hurdles that have been the bane of businesses for far too long.

At the launch of the Karibu centres, the CS said, “the centres are not just brick-and-mortar establishments but symbols of commitment to facilitate the ease of doing business in Kenya.  This is a commitment that will serve many generations to come.

Leonard Khafafa, Public Policy Analyst

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