A few minutes ago, US President Barack Obama, jetted in the country for the sixth Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES). The visit being the first ever by a sitting president of the most powerful country in the world has definitely put Kenya on the international limelight.
The excitement and the enthusiasm exhibited by Kenyans on President Obama’s historic visit is palpable especially for a man who has deep Kenyan roots. As the country puts the final touches on the preparations to host the summit, Kenyans particularly local entrepreneurs will have an excellent opportunity to showcase their ideas and innovations to the world with an aim of developing partnerships with global investors for successful businesses.
The summit, which brings together investors from all over the world, will also highlight Kenya’s potential as a gateway for investment not only in East Africa but also in the entire Africa.
Industrialization Cabinet Secretary (CS) Adan Mohammed speaking during an interview in a local TV station said the summit will see the best minds from across the globe pledge to support entrepreneurship and urged Kenyans to seize the opportunity and reap maximum benefits.
The CS said GES Summit will help local entrepreneurs transition their ideas and innovations to big businesses that will create thousands of jobs especially to the many jobless youth.
“The summit will have attractions on very many fronts and the local entrepreneurs should create linkages and networks with global investors to turn their ideas and innovation into real businesses,” he said.
Mohammed said that although the benefits many not be instantaneous the country should strive and create a conducive environment to attract global investors.
He took a swipe at the local media for portraying the country in bad light to the rest of the world and underscored the need for the media to report positively on the strides that the country has made instead on focusing only on the negatives.
“Kenya must put her house in order to woo investors and the Kenyan media should stop giving a perception of a country where things are not working,” he said.
Mohammed’s sentiments were echoed by his Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) counterpart Fred Matiangi who noted that investment stories are rarely told in the Kenyan media.
Matiangi observed that the country has a high potential of innovation especially in the ICT sector capped by young, energetic and creative local entrepreneurs who will seek to use the GES to propel them into global business.
Foreign Affairs CS Amina Mohammed also speaking in a separate interview said the GES is a recognition that country was in the right track and a confirmation that the ties between Kenya and US were growing deep and strong.
“This summit is recognition that the country has also the best leadership in place besides being a fast moving economy,” she said.
The CS said that the country will partner with US to counter terrorism which she acknowledged remains to be threat to investment.
“We have had our own share of terrorist attacks just like other countries but we shall not relent in the fight,” said Amina.
She encouraged local entrepreneurs to collaborate with other global entrepreneurs saying that the government will offer the needed support to help them achieve their goals.
“This is a lifetime opportunity for any entrepreneurs out there especially the youth,” said the CS.
Equity Bank Chief Executive Officer (CEO) James Mwangi who is expected to address the summit also in a TV interview said that GES will transform the country by branding it with entrepreneurship hence making it attractive for investment.
The CEO said besides the branding, the GES will also change the Kenyan narrative from a country facing security challenges to an investment hub and inspire the youth to think business.
“The GES brings with it hope and opportunities because Africa is open for business,” he said.
The GES is the first to be held in Sub-Saharan Africa and more than 3,000 delegates from across the world will participate in the summit.