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Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-04-01) World Bank GroupShifting Kenya’s private sector into higher gear: a trade and competitiveness agenda’ was born out of the World Bank’s Trade and Competitiveness (T&C) Global Practice recent stock taking of its work in Kenya. This was part of a Programmatic Approach that aimed to organize T&C’s knowledge, advisory, and convening services to address Kenya’s development challenges in the private sector space. By Sub-Saharan African standards, Kenya has a large private sector, which accounts for around 70 percent of total formal employment. As a result, the dynamics of the private sector are a key determinant of the trajectory of the Kenyan economy. The country’s product market regulations a restrictive for domestic competitors and foreign entrants, and the actions of cartels and behavior of dominant firms across sectors undermines competition and hurts consumers. The Kenyan Government recognizes these challenges and has invested significantly in unlocking these bottlenecks with impressive results so far and several important laws passed. Additional efforts to ease regulatory constraints and expedite important legislative changes could improve the investment climate at national and county levels.
Publication(Washington, DC, 2005-01) World BankThe conclusions of the recently-conducted Kenya Investment Climate Assessment (ICA), based on a survey of 368 firms, have a bearing on the country's growth agenda. The results have a bearing on the key issue of labor productivity and its implications on firm performance, revealing that capital-intensity in Kenya was relatively high, compared to the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and also to firms in China and India, but also relatively less productive. Labor productivity in Kenya had not improved materially over the past decade or so, so that unit labor costs compared very unfavorably with those prevailing in Asian countries like India, China, Indonesia or Thailand. Major constraints to doing business cited by firms in the survey related to infrastructure, tax administration and corruption. On infrastructure, power supply was seen as the most problematic, on account of the high number of outages, compounded by high losses in transmission and distribution. 64 percent of firms reported damage to equipment on account of power outages or fluctuations valued at nearly $15,000 per firm per year. To cope with these outages 70 percent of firms had acquired generators, further adding to the cost of doing business. Road and rail services were reported by most firms as being of very poor quality, and nearly a quarter of firms reported having to spend their own resources to improve the quality of roads in surrounding areas. On corruption, three quarters of firms surveyed reported this as a problem, though only about half reported having to spend resources in terms of unofficial payments.