Private Sector Development, Privatization, and Industrial Policy

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Creating Markets in Kenya: Unleashing Private Sector Dynamism to Achieve Full Potential

2019-07-31, International Finance Corporation

Kenya has the opportunities and resources to stimulate sustainable economic growth and development, but its potential has been constrained by under-investment and low firm-level productivity. Altogether, its development has not been sufficiently sustainable or equitable to transform the lives of ordinary citizens. Poverty remains high, with thirty-six percent of Kenyans living under the national poverty line, whereas the richest ten percent of the population receive forty percent of the nation’s income. This country private sector diagnostic (CPSD) sheds light on how the private sector can more effectively contribute to advancing the country’s developmental goals. Applying a sectoral lens, it puts forward operational recommendations highlighting strategic entry points for diversification and growth and addresses key constraints to private sector engagement. It also seeks to inform World Bank and IFC strategies, paving the way for joint programming to create markets and unlock private sector potential.

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Kenya : Growth and Competitiveness

2005-01, World Bank

The 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.

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Shifting Kenya's Private Sector into Higher Gear: A Trade and Competitiveness Agenda

2016-04-01, World Bank Group

Shifting 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.

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Kenya's Tourism : Polishing the Jewel

2010, World Bank

Kenya's tourism product lines and its source markets function in a cross-sectoral context, which leads to cross-cutting public and private sector issues. Tourism has played a major role in Kenya's development despite economic jolts from time-to-time by internal and external shocks. In 2006 and 2007 the economy grew rapidly and tourism, after a jolt in early 2008, rebounded thanks to market conditions and some solid marketing. The global recession, of course, has since intervened, and Kenya will have to continue with bold and committed actions if it is to regain its iconic position in world tourism. Value chain analysis of safari, coastal, and business and conference tourism highlights constraints and opportunities. Current tourism enterprises are hampered by significant taxation and regulation. Peaks and valleys in tourism flows have exacerbated already limited access to capital necessary for the sector to be competitive. The key to sustainability lies in Kenya's ability to provide a mix of tourism products -safari, coastal, cultural/heritage and business and conference - while protecting the very assets these products celebrate.