24 October 2012

Kenya: Africa Business Poised for Growth, Say Experts

Nairobi — Continued business reforms and sustainable private sector investments will drive Africa's economic growth to over 4.8 percent in 2013.

The International Development Research Centre regional director in Sub-Saharan Africa Simon Carter said this will be through empowering local investors by creating favourable environment for doing business.

Carter said the key challenge facing most of the local investors in various countries is getting licences and permits for their business and insecurity.

"Investors need confidence; they need to know the uncertainties they are dealing with and how to reduce or solve them. It's about meeting people's needs as quickly as possible," said Carter.

Carter who was speaking in Nairobi during a forum on investment Climate Reforms in Africa called on researchers from the continent to work closely with the policy makers to help them create reforms that will be effective in supporting local investment.

"Work with the users of the research right from the beginning of your research. For example in our case here if you are doing research on better macro economic policies you may have to involve the Governor of the Central Bank, talk to those in the related financial ministries and find out what they would want changed," he said.

On his part Deputy Vice Chancellor of Strathmore University Dr George Njenga said there is need for the countries in the continent to also encourage intratrade for most of the resources to remain within the continent.

"Most of our countries have more than enough of what we need. I don't mean it's bad for us to invest with countries outside Africa, but it is high time we start sharing our resources amongst ourselves, to ensure that our resources remain here and benefit us more," Njenga said.

He also emphasised on the need to empower the Small and Medium Enterprises saying adding that they are critical if Africa is to diversify its economy and take its people out of poverty.

"Necessary support such as reducing time, cost, administrative and legal requirements in setting up a business should be offered to boost SMEs growth and competitiveness," he added.

However according to the World Bank Report 2012, last year most governments in Sub-Saharan Africa changed their economy's regulatory environment which made it easier for SMEs to operate and thrive.

Africa has experienced a sustainable economic growth of five percent over the past decade.

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