Kenya is fighting graft to woo French investments


Corruption is still a major setback in Kenya’s push to become the investment destination of choice in Africa but Uhuru Kenyatta’s government says it is taking measures to defeat the vice.

Uhuru: Graft still a problem in Kenya

by Sharon Maombo from Kenya STAR

President Uhuru Kenyatta has encouraged French investors to choose Kenya as their preferred investment destination in Africa and assured them of the government’s support.

“As a government, we will do everything that we can to facilitate you, to make it easy for you to do business in Kenya and in the region,” Uhuru said on Friday while in Paris during a France-Kenya business forum.

President Kenyatta on a guided tour of Quartier Rive Gauche urban renewal and Station F innovation hub projects in downtown Paris
Image: PSCU

He acknowledged that rampant corruption was a major setback in Kenya’s push to become the investment destination of choice in Africa but assured the French business people that his administration was taking measures to defeat the vice.

 “I am not going to lie to you. Yes, corruption is still a problem but I want to guarantee you that we are fighting that problem. We are putting in place mechanisms that are going to ultimately ensure that it is much harder for people to engage in corrupt practices,” he said.

At the same time, the President acknowledged the growing number of French businesses setting up base in Nairobi saying the number had grown from less than 30 to over 100 in under ten years.

“I am very happy in the manner in which French companies have began to aggressively get more and more involved in Kenya. There was a time, not so long ago, less than ten years ago, when we had very few French companies wanting to or willing to be based in Nairobi or to do business in Kenya. Today, we have well over 100 and more coming,” he said.

“I want to encourage and to tell you that we are open for business, we want to work together with you. I think there’s a great future both for France and Kenya from this partnership.” 

President Kenyatta spoke the largest French business consortium in the world.

At the luncheon attended by top executives of leading French companies, the President said Kenya is keen to continue attracting win-win business partnerships to enable the country attain its development aspirations.

This comes a day after Uhuru signed a comercial contract with a French firm  for the expansion of the Rironi–Nakuru–Mau Summit Highway  into a four-lane dual carriageway.

Its construction will be done by a French construction company, and overseen by the Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) through a public-private partnership model.

While in France on a state visit, President Uhuru Kenyatta witnessed the signing of commercial agreements for the 233km  project between the Ministry of Transport, through the Kenha, and the French VINCI Consortium.