East Africa: In a Year Marked By Graft, Kenyan Corporates Commit to Good Governance

The Institute of Directors (Kenya), in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) convened the Institute of Directors (Kenya) Second Annual Corporate Governance Conference end of September in Nairobi. The theme of the Conference was Good Governance: An enabler for the socio-economic transformation of East Africa.

The Presidents of the member states of the East African have agreed on a raft of measures geared toward the implementation of a single currency by the year 2025. In addition, the use of a common passport will also usher an unprecedented movement of people, goods and services within the region. Good governance is a catalyst for change and economic transformation in any society.

Institute of Directors (K) exists to represent Kenyan directors and to advocate their interests. Foremost among its goals is to professionalize the career of directors in all sectors of the economy. IOD (K) champions director professionalism and development through good corporate governance for the benefit of organizations, stakeholders and the prosperity of Kenya. IOD (K) continually provides an array of services guaranteed to add value to the careers and work of professional directors. It also seeks to establish standards on the qualification and conduct of directors and the boards on which they serve.

Kenya has been plagued by several graft cases including corruption, theft of public funds and inefficiencies that at time has involved private sector.

The Conference sought to explore East Africa's potential and the role of good governance in realizing this transition. Leaders in the East African Community's public and private sectors will share their insights on how they think good governance brings national and institutional strategic visions to reality.

"Incorporating good corporate governance as we go about our daily business, will increase the competitive position of the East African region in the global economy and attract more investment, resulting in more economic activity and reducing unemployment." Mr. Meshack Joram, CEO, IoD Kenya.

During the event, the CEO of Kenya Capital Markets Authority Paul Muthaura acknowledged the role of good governance in promoting health investment climate at the capital market. "there has been global momentum in strengthening corporate governance in East Africa and here in Kenya. In the East African region, in implementing the East African Capital Markets Protocol freedom of cross border capital flows, a Council Directive on Corporate Governance that defines broad harmonized principles of corporate governance in the capital markets space within the region has been drafted. Each of the EAC Partner States is now required to transpose the Corporate Governance Council Directive in order to allow for easier cross boarder operation by issuers as well as building comfort for investors in the consistency of governance enforcement when they invest across the region. "

The East African Community is home to over 300 million people, over 70% of whom are below the age of 30. Instilling a culture of good governance in this youthful population, could facilitate the transition to middle income status for the majority of East Africans.

"We are keen to collaborate with public private partnerships (PPPs) that provide a platform for policymakers, corporate, public institutions from the East African Community to network." Roman Zyla Regional Corporate Governance Lead Africa, IFC.

International Finance Corporation (IFC) works with firms to attract and retain investment by promoting the adoption of good corporate governance practices and standards. It offers a range of services, often provided with the support of locally based partners, ranging from a tailored "diagnostic" review, to consultations on specific corporate governance matters, to in-depth assessments with implementation plans.

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