Kenya is the best investment hub in Africa, US envoy Meg Whitman says

 Meg Whitman

US Ambassador Meg Whitman addresses participants at the devolution conference.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

The US government has outlined some of the issues that the government needs to implement to woo more investments and strengthen the devolved system of governance, even as its ambassador to Kenya, Ms Meg Whitman, spoke highly of Kenya’s investment opportunities, terming it as the best investment destination in Africa.

Among the raft of measures include a review of its tax policy, a strengthened fight against corruption, and attractive trade policies. The envoy said that, although there are some strides in the fight against corruption, the government needs to put in more effort in containing the vice, noting that it undermines equal participation and erodes public investment trust.

President William Ruto has cracked down on corruption by calling out government agencies that engage in unscrupulous practices and firing government officials involved in corruption but there is a lot to be done to contain the vice,” she noted.

According to Ms Whitman, Kenya’s tax policy needs to be reviewed to make it attractive for local and international investors.

“Kenya must have consistent and transparent and fairly administered national tax policy to attract and retain direct investments and accelerate economic development,” she stated.

“Tax rates don’t need to be lowest but need to be most consistent ... the recent finance bill had many changes that will take the country 10 years to make tax bankable,” she said in her address at the official opening of the devolution conference in Eldoret.

She described Kenya as an investment and technology hub, revealing that the two countries are involved in developing a bilateral agreement which is likely to be concluded by the end of the year.

“Kenya is the main export market for the US and there are several opportunities for investment for the US considering that Kenya is a regional financial, logistics and technological hub for the East Africa region,” Ms Whitman said.

She noted that Kenya’s stable democracy, efficient infrastructural development in transport including the standard gauge railway and the vibrant air transport, was key in attracting investors. She reiterated her earlier stated stance that last year’s General Election passed the credibility test.

"The 2022 General Election was the most credible election in Kenyan history and results were upheld by the Supreme Court and power was transferred peacefully at that time,’ said Ms Whitman.

Safaricom CEO Alex Ndegwa said that the firm had partnered with county governments on digital transformation to enhance delivery of services in various sectors, including health and technology.

“Recently, we launched the MyCounty App to accelerate the access to information and technological transfer and 14 counties are on board,” said Mr Ndegwa.