Uhuru to ACP: Embrace practical SME handles

President Uhuru Kenyatta /PHOTO: Courtesy

BY PRUDENCE WANZA- ACP member states must strive to bring onboard innovative ways of jump-starting entrepreneurship among member states.

President Kenyatta says the emerging world order required more hands-on ways of generating new growth frontiers and said fresh, more youth-friendly handles are what member states must strive to put in place.

The Kenyan leader told the ACP member states to strive to provide an enabling environment for entrepreneurship to thrive especially and the growth of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME’s).

He said MSME’s have the potential to fix the global employment challenge as well as address the needs of special interest groups such as youth, women and disabled persons.

 “To successfully grow MSMEs, members of vulnerable and economically disadvantaged groups need finance, business skills training and markets; without which most of them fail in the first three years,” the President said.

The President called for the removal of bottlenecks that choke enterprises by strengthening regulatory and institutional frameworks so as to enhance ease of doing business in ACP member nations.

“As governments, we need to continuously improve the ease-of-doing-business in order to remove supply-side constraints and increase competitiveness, transparency, and efficiency,” President Kenyatta said.

He said Kenya has been able to improve its ranking in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index from position 136 in 2014 to position 56 in the latest ranking by working closely with the private sector.

While citing successes attained by Kenya in financial inclusion, the President pitched for the utilization of technology to promote the growth of e-commerce and improve the efficiency and transparency of service delivery by governments.

Speaking at the business forum, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottely called on ACP member countries to tap into the potential of local investments by managing migration and creating a strong sense of local ownership.

The PM gave the example of Kenya’s Equity Bank saying that the financial institution has created employment and investment opportunities in Kenya where “international banks have not been able to fully respond to local market needs”.

Namibian President Hage Geingob and Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness called for a total war on corruption saying graft was a big impediment in the economic take-off of ACP countries.

The Namibian leader acknowledged the challenges facing the fight against corruption but insisted that ACP nations have no other alternative to ending corruption if they have to succeed.

PM Holness challenged ACP nations to encourage more people-to-people engagements so as to create linkages and an atmosphere of trust needed to spur trade and cross-border investments.

To diversify trade, Seychelles President Danny Faure urged ACP nations to invest more in both local and international blue saying his government recently set up the Blue Economy Council to optimize the utilization of ocean resources for economic development.