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Private sector’s presidential roundtables seek to address Kenya’s global competitiveness

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and the Government led by President William Ruto held two small roundtables at the State House in Nairobi on 12th and 25th March 2024.

Fifteen private sector leaders were present through KEPSA, to discuss global competitiveness in various sectors of manufacturing including ICT, agriculture, international investors, tourism, labour, and financial services. The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) joined in the second meeting.

According to KEPSA, the outcomes of the two roundtables address critical bottlenecks in each sector and proposed interventions.

“Recognizing the businesses’ vital role in driving innovation, creating jobs, and stimulating economic growth, the President has affirmed the administration’s unwavering commitment to engage the private sector. This includes adopting the recommendations, including negotiating access to strategic markets to open up for Kenya’s exports. Leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will further help expand market access within the continent, tapping into the growing demand for high-quality products and services,” said KEPSA CEO Carole Kariuki in a statement to newsrooms on Thursday.

She said that other resolutions recommended include adopting the National Taxation Policy to provide predictability to Kenya’s tax system, increased support and financing to SMEs, and an overall supportive environment that incorporates stakeholder inputs into the process of policy and legal intervention across sectors, among others.

“The third Presidential Roundtable will take place sometime in May, to go through the progress report and add two more sectors for discussion,” said Kariuki.

She highlighted that over the last 20 years, KEPSA has rallied the private sector to engage and speak in one voice to the government through structured dialogue as a social and economic partner.

“The Presidential Roundtables mark a major milestone and are a culmination of the ongoing deliberations under the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment that seek to collate different private sector issues affecting business costs, including the cost of raw materials, cost of utilities, labour productivity, logistics, and cost and tenure of credit,” she said.

By Joseph Ng’ang’a

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