Cytonn CEO Edwin Dande speaking during the discussion at the Strathmore Business School.
Today I had the privilege of speaking to MBA Students from IESE Business School attending a two-week immersion program at Strathmore Business School. The topic was about “Challenges and Opportunities of Doing Business Across the African Continent.”
My focus was really on East Africa; my key message is that the opportunities are as myriad as the challenges. By any key message, East Africa is at a better place as an investment destination than it has ever been:
- Macroeconomic indicators such as interest rates, currencies and exchange rates are more stable now than they used to be decades ago,
- The demographic trends are very supportive – the population growth rate of 2.6% p.a. is higher than the global average of 1.2% p.a.; and rapid urbanization at 4.3% p.a. is way higher than global average of 2.1% p.a.,
- Ease of Doing Business indices are pointing in the right direction – for example, Kenya ranks #61 in Ease of Doing Business, compared to rank #129 five-years ago,
- Governance indices point the right direction as indicated by an improvement in Kenya’s corruption perception index score to 28 from the previous score of 26, with a higher score in the index reflecting less corruption and better measures to prevent corruption,
- Specifically, for Kenya, we have a lot more going for us:
- We are the gateway to the East African Region through the Mombasa Port and through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), making us the regional business and transit hub,
- We are the global leader in mobile money payments through M-Pesa,
- We have a vibrant entrepreneurial culture,
- Our wildlife tourism is second to none in the world,
- Our marathoners are second to none in the world, and,
- The Obama heritage gave, and continues to give, us global brand recognition.