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Raila calls for laws to protect local entrepreneurs

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has said there is need for Kenya and the entire African Continent to come up with laws and regulations that will prevent investors from exploiting people in the countries where they operate.

Members of the public who attended the launch of Investera Plus Africa follow proceedings at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi. Photo by Bonface Malinda

Raila said some investors come to capitalise and create money and in the end the profit is repatriated to their countries, noting that the guidelines will protect the interests of Kenyans and prevent them from being used as vehicles to create a monopoly in the country.

“There are laws in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates that require an investor to partner with a local who owns 61 per cent of the shares in business, while the investor owns 49 per cent. Why don’t we as Kenya also come up with regulations to protect our people?” posed Raila.

He said Mpesa is making billions of shillings and making people rich, while the Kenyan who came up with the innovation is just rotting, adding that Kenya has so many young people who are capable of coming up with innovations. “We do not want our people become horses after they have generated ideas, and this calls for laws and regulations that protect local entrepreneurs’ to be put in place as we need our people to continue inventing,” he said, adding that Kenya’s quest is to promote the local people in the business of industrialisation.

At the same time, Raila noted that the 4th Industrial revolution will be driven by technology and not wheelbarrows.

The former PM was speaking at a Nairobi hotel Tuesday, during the launch of the Investera Plus Africa platform, a leading market research platform showcasing company insights from early stage startups to public listed companies

The former PM who welcomed the Investera Plus Africa to look for partners and linkages in Kenya and the entire continent, said the African Union will provide them with fiber optic cable to enable them access any capital in the continent from Nairobi.

He said that the Inter European Trade trades at 70 per cent, inter Asian Trade is at 50 per cent, while the Inter African trade is low at 15 per cent due to lack of infrastructure for doing business, whereas the Free African Trade creates market for 1.3 billion people in the continent.

ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs PS Jerome Ochieng speaking at the Serena hotel in Nairobi during the launch of Investera Plus Africa at the Serena hotel in Nairobi on Tuesday August 3, 2021. Photo by Bonface Malinda

Raila who is also the Chairperson of the African Union High Representative for Infrastructure Development said the African Union has created an African Continental Free Trade Area, which is the biggest trade area zone in the world, creating a market for 1.3 billion people.

The former premier said the African Union is fast tracking the Intercontinental highway, the Trans African railway line, ICT link fiber optic network across the continent and promotion of open airspace to enable planes flying across the continent pay reasonable fee.

He said technology is very important for the development of a country, hence the need to promote Information, Communication and Technology services and infrastructure.

Speaking at the same event, ICT and Innovation PS Jerome Ochieng said technology is a key driver and enabler of the global economy as it transforms countries into knowledgeable based societies to achieve the United Nations sustainable development goals.

Ochieng said the dynamic growth of technology led transformation globally has created new opportunities for economic growth, social empowerment, innovation and cross border trade.

“Through digital transformation, oceans of new data is generated through digital transactions. Organizations need to harness and analyze this data to uncover new insights and remain competitive,” he said.

Regarding the evolving business and technology landscape, Ochieng said for businesses to prosper, organizations are required to take a 360-degree approach to transformation, as well as reinvent their client experience, reimage the use of data and integrate technology into investment decision making and product capabilities.

The PS who commended Investra Plus Africa Company for selecting Kenya as their African headquarters, said their choice is a show of confidence that Kenya is a preferred investment destination in the region.

He lauded Investera for availing their platform to help investors and businesses to manage all aspects of their investment processes on a single digital platform.

The PS announced that the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs in collaboration with other government agencies, the private sector and academia has been at the forefront of promoting the evolution of the ICT policy and regulatory environment with the aim of achieving the Kenya’s Vision 2030 blue print, the Big Four Agenda and the Digital Economy Blue print.

The policies include the Data Protection Act 2019, ICT Policy Guidelines 2020, the ongoing National Addressing System of Kenya Policy and Bill among others that seeks to transform the technology landscape in the country.

He announced that the government has made a lot of investments in ICT infrastructure to stimulate adoption of technology, spur innovation and to increase investment in the sector, adding that Kenya is currently ranked position three in Sub-Saharan Africa in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Rankings.

“These interventions are part of a wider government approach in positioning Kenya as a preferred investment destination in Africa and to promote the socio-economic well-being of our citizens through job creation and poverty alleviation,” he said.

The Investera Plus Africa Platform a UAE based leading market research tool offers industry reports, news and market maps across different markets across the world.

By Bernadette Khaduli

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