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President Uhuru Kenyatta’s speech during Kenya International Investment and Trade Conference 2014

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By - | November 20th 2014

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s speech during  the inaugural Kenya International Investment and Trade Conference 2014 held at Kenyatta International Conference Centre on Wednesday

Ladies and Gentlemen,

1.     On behalf of the Government and people of Kenya, let me extend a warm welcome to you all.  We are delighted you are here, and trust that you will spare sometime during your stay to enjoy the pleasures of our country. Karibuni.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

2.     Let me say it is a special pleasure to join you today.  We meet here to consider how best to strengthen our enterprises, and to see how we can consolidate Kenya’s position as Africa’s gateway, and prime investment destination.

3.     Today, we display Kenya’s investment opportunities.  Today, we bring national, regional and international investors together with the country’s leaders.  Today, we exchange ideas, and learn from each other’s experience.

4.     Of course, we also meet at an auspicious moment for Africa. Our continent is now the world’s investment frontier. It offers attractive investment opportunities not only for our local investors but also for international investors.

Ladies and Gentlemen,                               

5.     My Government welcomes investors from all parts of the world to complement our local investors.  This we do guided by a famous African proverb which states that “if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, gotogether.”We must admit to succeed in the war against poverty, it is clear that, as Kenya and the Eastern African region,wemust embracegenuine investors from other parts of the world. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

6.     Investment is key to our economy. Without it, we cannot create the jobs that will sustain our young men and women, or relieve the poverty that still disfigures the lives of our people. That is why my Government is so assertively marketing the country, and removing the obstacles that still stand in the way of productive investment by investors – both local and international.

7.     Already, we have begun to modernise and expand railway infrastructure in the country – our rail flagship project,the Standard Gauge Railway, links Mombasa to Nairobi, and which will eventually knit our entire region together. 

8.     We also have commissioned a 140 MW geothermal plant – a core part of our manifesto commitment to generate 5000MW of power by 2017.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

9.     My Government also launched a single-window electronic clearing system to hasten the clearance of imports and exports. We have also cut the container transit time along the Mombasa to Kampala route from 22 days to 6 days. Export and import procedures are now handled under one electronic framework.

10.     We are also accelerating our commitments to bilateral investment treaties, and signing double-taxation agreements with our key investing and trading partners.

11.     We have deepened regional integration to improve the attractiveness of the region to investors; and to ensure that we prosper with our neighbours. Indeed, we recently arranged to establish a Free Trade Area across the East Africa Community,COMESA and SADC – creating a market of 600 million people.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

12.     We know all too well that our growth is unsustainable if it is not equitable.

13.     That is why we established funds that grant credit on concessional terms to the disadvantaged – our Uwezo Fund, the Youth and Women Enterprise Funds, and others.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

14.     I have taken the trouble to enumerate these measures to demonstrate the seriousness with which we take our investorsand the need to improve their operational environment.

15.     While we offer attractive physicalinfrastructure and other services to investors, we are ready and willing to consider other ways and incentives of making investing in Kenya attractive and rewarding. I am particularly interested in listening to you to appreciate your needs but more importantly to hearwhat you would wish the Government to do about them

16.     Let me also hasten to inform you that my Government is in this regard, developing a comprehensive national investment policy that will consider the attractiveness of the incentives we are currently offering and other important aspects such as local content and joint ventures. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

17.     To facilitate investors and provide seamless and efficient services, efforts are underway to set up a state of the art one stop centre for investors, bringing together under one roof government ministries and agencies involved in investment facilitation.

18.     Indeed, our intention is to second senior officers to the Centre with sufficient authority to make decisions. 

19.     As I close my remarks, let me say it is the intention of my Government to see this conference mature into an annual forum; a forum to examine how we have been fairingwith regard to investment.

20.  But more importantly to appreciate emerging challenges, and what policy priorities should take centre stage, so as to spur the desired investment that is necessary to deliver the promise we have made to our people, of building a better Kenya for all.

21. Let me close by thanking you for honouring us and attending this important Conference.  I also wish to thank the Ministry of East African Affairs,Commerce and Tourism; the Kenya Investment Authority; the Export Promotion Council; the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry; the Kenya Private Sector Alliancefor the effort you have made to organize and make this Conference a success

Ladies and Gentlemen,

22.  It is my hope that your deliberations will not only be fruitful but they will transmit into concrete investment proposals. 

23.  With these few remarks, it is now my pleasure to declare the inaugural Kenya International Investment and Trade Conference, officially opened.

Thank You and God Bless you All.

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