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Exclusive interview: Dr. Moses Ikiara, PhD, MBS Managing Director KenInvest

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Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest) promotes investments in Kenya. It is responsible for facilitating the implementation of new investment projects, providing After Care services for new and existing investments, as well as organizing investment promotion activities both locally and internationally. We speak to its Managing Director Dr. Moses Ikiara.

In 140 characters or less – what is KenInvest?

Kenya’s investment promotion agency – KenInvest – promotes and facilitates local and international investment into Kenya.

What was the driver for creating KenInvest – what gap did it fill?

KenInvest was created through an Act of Parliament (Investment Promotion Act No. 6 of 2004) with the main objective of promoting private investments in Kenya. Previously it had existed as Investment Promotion Centre since 1986.

KenInvest provides investors with pre-and-post investment information and services, assisting in areas such as licensing, tax incentives, advice on the business climate, operating rules, sources of capital, how to navigate government agencies and aftercare support. KenInvest’s primary goal is to act as a bridge between investors and the market, offering continuous liaison and interfacing with investors in their day-to-day operations; ultimately to make it easier to do business in Kenya.

As a result of KenInvest’s efforts and sustained momentum in promoting Kenya’s investment proposition led by His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta, The Deputy President, The Cabinet and private sector agencies, FDI into Kenya has doubled year-on-year, rising by 98 percent in 2013 and 92.4 percent in 2014. With major investments being made by international companies in various sectors, including tech giant Google purchasing a stake in Africa’s largest wind project, we are confident this momentum will continue.

Who is it primarily for?

KenInvest is coordinating local and international players engaging in private investment and continues to build a comprehensive and up to date database of investment opportunities in Kenya touching all sectors and counties across the country. Moreover, KenInvest, in conjunction with investment project promoters in the public and private sectors, is profiling investment projects to ease investor decision-making.

What difference does KenInvest want to make?

KenInvest is integral to the country’s development blueprint – Vision 2030, which aims to transform Kenya into a ‘newly industrializing, middle-income country providing a high quality of life to all its citizens by the year 2030.’ Private investment plays a big role in this. KenInvest is therefore promoting and marketing the country as the preferred investment destination in order to attain investment to GDP ratio of at least 32 percent.

KenInvest’s vision is to be a global leader in investment attraction and to position Kenya as a leading FDI destination.

What are the barriers to making that difference? Who’s helping you overcome those barriers?

As part of our remit, we are firmly focused on enhancing ease and cost of doing business in Kenya by urging the relevant institutions to implement reforms required to overcome barriers.

Kenya has made significant strides in improving its regulatory framework; recently enacting a New Companies Act, Insolvency Act and Business Regulation Act; in addition to the PPP Act of 2013 and on-going reforms to its Public Procurement Act.

We are also due to open a one-stop investor shop in Nairobi to provide investors with end-to-end guidance on establishing and growing businesses in Kenya. Investors will be able to visit KenInvest to seek guidance from our experienced consultants on navigating the business landscape in Kenya.

Following on from these reforms, Kenya has been ranked as the third most reformed country in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business 2016 report – an indication of the positive progress made by the country in overcoming barriers to doing business.

Beyond the regulatory sphere, the Government of Kenya has made unprecedented public investments in security, infrastructure, public infrastructure and economic and political governance structures, and continues to invest heavily in human resource development.

Is global action today commensurate with the energy challenges we face?

The Government of Kenya has identified energy as one of the infrastructural enablers of the three pillars of Vision 2030 – Kenya’s development blue print. The country has recognized and planned for an expected surge in energy use within the commercial sector in the coming years.

Kenya’s energy plans encompass renewable energy projects including wind, geothermal and solar energy development programmes on a commercial scale, with the Government of Kenya introducing an attractive feed-in tariff policy to attract private investments.

The country is targeting to generate an additional 5000MW of power in less than three years, and as a result opportunities within the sector are abound for global investors.

How can people – individuals and organizations – find out more about KenInvest?

Local or international investors eager to learn more about doing business in Kenya can visit www.investmentkenya.com or contact us via info@investmentkenya.com with information on their sector focus. A member of our team will then be in touch. We also encourage investors to visit makeitkenya.com for an overview of Kenya’s investment landscape and latest news.

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Green Weddings Trend: Why 70% of Newlyweds Are Going Green

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A couple of months ago, my best friend got married to her new husband. They are both very eco-conscious people, so they decided to have a unique twist on their wedding. They asked for the following:

  • They arranged a carpool with their friends.
  • They didn’t have any balloons. Instead they used umbrellas.
  • They used plant materials instead of plastic confetti.
  • My friend insisted her husband not purchase a diamond. In addition to being ecologically conscious, she didn’t like the idea of having a stone that was used in conflict zones.

My friends aren’t the only ones making these changes. In fact, nearly a quarter of all newlyweds are organizing green weddings.

Green Weddings Are Becoming the Norm

People are more concerned about green living than ever before. They are trying to incorporate environmental protectionist ideas into every facet of their lives, even the most intimate, such as marriage. A growing number of people are trying to have green weddings, which can make a big difference in reducing their carbon footprint.

How much of a difference can this make? Here are some statistics to bear in mind:

There are a number ofreasons that green weddings are becoming more important. Here are a few.

People Are More Worried About Environmental Preservation than Ever Before

Green living in general is becoming a greater concern for most people. Even younger conservatives are breaking from their older counterparts by insisting on fighting climate change. According to a poll from Pew Research earlier this year, 75% of Americans say that they are very concerned about protecting the environment. Having green weddings is a good way to act on this concern.

One of the biggest changes people are making is using recycled products for their green weddings. This is explained by the research from Pew:

“Overall, 32% of U.S. adults say they are bothered a lot by people throwing away things that could be recycled. Roughly six-in-ten Americans (61%) who say they always try to live in ways that protect the environment say it bothers them “a lot” when others throw away things that could be recycled. Among those who are less focused on environmental protection, only a quarter say it bothers them a lot when others don’t recycle. People who are environmentally conscious are also twice as likely as others to say that seeing someone incorrectly putting trash in recycling bins bothers them a lot (42% vs. 21%).”

Indifferent Politicians Are Driving them to Take More Initiative

Many politicians in power have been very hesitant to take action on climate change. Many of them have openly stated that it is a hoax. These politicians are forcing people to do what they can in their own lives to make a difference. Making small changes, such as hosting green weddings, is a great way to improve the environment without waiting for political momentum.

Cost and Simplicity

A couple of the biggest reasons that people want to host green weddings have nothing to do with their concern for the environment. Running green weddings is simply cheaper and simpler than having a massive, traditional one. One of the biggest changes is that they are buying green engagement rings from the best brands.

Green Weddings Are the Future

Green weddings have become very popular over the past few years. They will probably account for close to 90% of all marriages by 2025. People that are planning to get married should look into the benefits and plan accordingly.

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Green Tech Start-Ups: Are they the Future?

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Endless innovations are occurring in green companies, reinventing the industries they belong to. Gradually, they are beginning to amass more success and popularity. Consequently, these factors serve as a good indicator for green technology businesses, and their development must begin somewhere.

Green tech start-ups boast a wide array of opportunities for the economy and environment, while boosting recruitment openings with valuable services. While the technology industry is littered with high revenues and competition, the green tech start-ups are the clear sign of a cleaner future.

Fulfilling a Genuine Need

Many tech companies will market themselves as the ultimate tech giants to shift stock and make profit. As they all vie for attention through warped corporate rhetoric, there is only one ethical winner; the start-up green tech company.

Some argue that mainstream tech businesses have grown far too big, branching out into other industries and standing between the consumer and practically everything they do. However, green tech start-ups go beyond the shallow ambitions of a company, answering a call to sincerely help the customer and climate in any way they can. Of course, this is an attractive business model, putting customers at ease as they contribute to a humanitarian cause that is genuine through and through.

After all, empathy is a striking trait to have in business, and green tech start-ups maintain this composure by their very nature and purpose.

Creating Opportunities

Despite the pursuits for clean energy still needing more awareness, green tech is an area that is ripe for contribution and expansion. There’s no need to copy another company or be a business of cheap knockoffs; green tech start-ups can add a new voice to the economy by being fresh, fearless and entrepreneurial.

Technology is at its most useful when it breaks new ground, an awe that eco-friendly innovations have by default in their operations. Of course, green tech start-ups have the chance to build on this foundation and create harmony instead of climate crisis. Ultimately, the tech advancements are what revolutionise clean energy as more than an activist niche, putting theory into practice.

Despite the US gradually becoming more disengaged with green technology, others such as China and Canada recognise the potential in green technology for creating jobs and growth in their respective economies. The slack of others spurs them on, which creates a constant influx of prospects for the green tech sector. Put simply, their services are always required, able to thrive from country to country.

A Fundamental Foresight

Mainstream technology can seem repetitive and dull, tinkering with what has come before rather than turning tech on its head. Since 2011, technology has been accused of stagnation, something which the internet and petty app services seem to disguise in short reaching ideas of creativity.

However, green tech start-ups aren’t just winging it, and operate with a roadmap of climate change in the years ahead to strategize accordingly. In other words, they aren’t simply looking to make a quick profit by sticking to a trend, but have the long-term future in mind. Consequently, the green tech start-up will be there from the very start, building up from the foundational level to only grow as more and more people inevitably go green.

They can additionally forecast their finances too, with the ability to access online platforms despite the differing levels of experience, keeping them in the loop. Consequently, with an eye for the future, green tech startups are the ones who will eventually usher in the new era.

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