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Doing Business in Kenya

Kenyan Economic Research

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Business Promotion in Kenya

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The Kenyan Economy

Kenya is well-known for its copious wildlife preserves and breathtaking landscapes, but bordering the Indian Ocean is also some of the finest beaches in all of Africa. With several cities that generate influence through the cultural heritage of its people, Kenya has a diverse group of sectors that make it attractive to many investors looking to grow their business. Since reaching independence in 1963, Kenya has seen its economy shared by both privately owned and state-run enterprises. With the majority of the business in the hands of the private sector, many of whom are foreign investors, the economy takes shape through these privately owned entities and government influence by way of various regulatory powers and partially or wholly owned businesses.    


This sector is integral to the Kenyan economy and although its influence on the fluctuation of that number has declined from around 40 percent in 1964 to about 20 percent since the early 2000s, the trade still employs the majority of the population. Agriculture provides the manufacturing sector the means to boost the economy throughout the region.   The major domestic crops come in the form of corn and wheat. Livestock and dairy products are also used domestically and the government keeps reserves of skim milk powder, cheese and butter as a result. Extra livestock and dairy products are used to fuel the export market. With less than 10 percent of the region available for agricultural use and paired with lack of water and infrastructure, this makes expanding this sector impossible. 


With a poor infrastructure hindering economic growth, the Kenyan government is actively seeking bids to improve and expand its networks both domestically and across the region to assist in facilitating the growth of trade routes. As of 2015 an estimated $55.6 billion is planned to be invested in the country’s infrastructure and several major projects will look to transform Kenya into a hub for intra-regional trade within the continent. The majority of these funds are said to be allocated to telecommunications and power generation projects with another estimated $5.14 billion funneled into various roadway projects to improve traffic flow in the region. Disputes and illegal occupation of land have caused delays and increased costs of some of these projects. Providing a domestic partnership is crucial for these projects, but using some foreign companies will be necessary to get the jobs done. Investors can look to this sector knowing they have governmental participation and the promise of increased trade capability after completion.


Beautiful beaches, eco-tourism, unique cultural experiences and sports are all factors in generating tourism throughout Kenya. With an increase in several key areas of this sector including international arrivals, Kenya has seen a steady increase thanks in large part to political stability and a focus on security that will hopefully generate more results moving forward in 2020. With a growing hospitality sector and increased interest, investors can look to this sector for its stability and potential with foreign ventures. With so many natural wonders throughout the region the country is big on the practice of ecotourism, which is the responsible travel of people to natural areas, with an emphasis on the preservation of the host country’s environment and local culture. This plays a key role in making sure that a large section of this sector stays profitable and intact.

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