Kenyatta targets jobs in State of the Nation address

Thursday April 04 2019

Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta inspects a guard of honour mounted by the Kenya Armed Forces upon his arrival for the State of the Nation Address at Parliament Buildings on April 4, 2019. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG


Kenya is seeking to be among the top 50 most attractive investment destinations in the world by the end of next year, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced Thursday.

In a State of the Nation Address in Parliament, President Kenyatta said the government would push reforms aimed at easing the cost of doing business but fell short of expectation he would draw the line on corruption.

Under pressure to sack members of his cabinet implicated in corruption, the president said due process would be followed before he takes any drastic action.

The war on corruption has caused fissures within the ruling Jubilee party with politicians allied to his deputy William Ruto saying it is intended to block him from winning the presidency in 2022.

In the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index 2019, Kenya improved 19 places to position 61 globally. Kenya targets to dislodge Mauritius (20), Rwanda (29) and Morocco (60) in Africa.

On the heels of Kenya are Tunisia and South Africa at position 80 and 82, respectively. Botswana, Zambia and Djibouti complete Africa's presence in the top 100 investment destinations.


“It is our intention to further improve our ranking to be among the top 50 by the year 2020,” he said in his address.

Kenya is grappling with issues ranging from rising political temperatures ahead of the 2022 general elections, corruption, food insecurity, unemployment and ballooning debt.

President Kenyatta—in a speech punctuated with 'We will not turn back'—said the government would tackle the challenges through the Big 4 Agenda, development blueprint meant to secure his legacy.

With unity afforded by him reaching out to opposition leaders led by Africa Union infrastructure envoy Raila Odinga envoy under the Building Bridges Initiative, commonly known as The Handshake, President Kenyatta said the economy would be transformed to create jobs.

Among the measures is the creation of an SME credit guarantee scheme to spur the growth of the segment that accounts for more than 80 per cent of the jobs created in the country.

He said the government would implement reforms intended to improve service provision and secure the country's borders. Kenya is engaged in Amisom, the Africa Union force seeking to secure Somalia from Al Shabaab, a terrorist group associated with Al Qaeda.

“We are not turning back because we are determined to gift our children a better Kenya than the one we inherited. A prosperous Kenya where respect for the rule of law and integrity are the accepted norms,” said President Kenyatta. Kenya's economy is projected to grow at 6.3 per cent this year, from 6.1 per cent in 2018, with energy, transport and ICT the key drivers.