• Kenya was ranked as the 93rd most competitive nation in the world out of 140 countries in the 2018 edition of the Global Competitiveness Report.
  • In Kenya, like many African countries information on key markets and sectors remains scantly leaving investors in the dark.
  • Business Insider SSA recently had a chat with Mr Sahil S.R. Shah, Lead - Economic Development Portfolio, Kenya and Ethiopia to understand more about the think-tank that is seeking to support the transformation of the business and investment environment in Kenya.

Kenya is the 93rd most competitive nation in the world out of 140 countries ranked in the 2018 edition of the Global Competitiveness Report and published by the World Economic Forum.

The main sectors contributing to economic growth are agriculture, building and construction, infrastructure development, manufacturing, transport and services, and tourism.

An aerial view of Nairobi City

In Kenya, like many African countries information on key markets and sectors remains scantly leaving investors in the dark. Trade policies are also outdated and their is need for a model approach where information is easily availed on demand.

Business Insider SSA recently had a chat with Mr Sahil S.R. Shah, Lead - Economic Development Portfolio, Kenya and Ethiopia to understand more about the think-tank that is seeking to support the transformation of the business and investment environment in Kenya.

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Mr Sahil S.R. Shah, Lead - Economic Development Portfolio, Kenya and Ethiopia. (George Tubei)

Working in the intersection of the private and public sectors, Kenya Business Guide provides access to information on key features of both the private and public sector prerequisites in the effective functioning of business.

“The Kenya Business Guide is a private sector development think-tank that seeks to support the transformation of the business and investment environment in Kenya through the provision of curated and targeted information. We work in the intersection of the public and private sectors providing information and advisory support to help leaders make more effective decisions. The KBG was formed in 2017 by a consortium of development partners led by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.” Shah told Business Insider SSA.

Here is an excerpt of our conservation.

BISSA: Why do you think the existence of Kenya Business Guide is important?

Sahil Shah: One of the biggest issues in Kenya and Africa is the dearth of data and information for decision-making. We believe that the first step to making an effective decision in business or policy is having the right information and analysis.

The KBG places information and analysis at the heart of its work and provides the majority of its information free of charge making it accessible to any stakeholder interested in information for decision making.

BISSA: What are some of the interesting trends in the Kenyan market which Kenya Business Guide has taken note of?

Shah: The Kenyan economy is extremely vibrant and driven by innovation and resilience more than anything. This refers less to technological innovation but more to process innovation that has seen an incredible amount of adaptability in business models, particularly around the huge informal sector. This is both a testament to the inherent entrepreneurial nature of citizens and the government and political risk that constantly faces businesses necessitating process innovation.

In terms of sectors, while industries such as oil & gas and ICT are attracting much attention, the core sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing will still be the source of growth and employment creation. Agro-processing is the single biggest opportunity for business, economic growth and wealth creation in Kenya.

BISSA: Since its inception, what are some of the successes, milestones and challenges Kenya Business Guide has experienced?

SS: Operating as a think-tank for less than two years, the KBG has made remarkable progress in building a reputation as a trusted and valued source of information and analysis on Kenya's economy. Within that time-span, the think-tank has researched and published more than 5 briefs and 3 comprehensive reports on the Kenyan economy, directly engaged with more than 20 government agencies and convened more than 15 conferences bringing together government leaders and business executives across all sectors of the Kenyan economy.

The challenges have primarily been around access to reliable sources of information and data. However, using an innovative industry-led methodology, the quantitative gaps have been satiated with expert input through KBG's unparalleled access to private sector networks.

BISSA: What is the end goal for Kenya Business Guide?

SS: The end goal of the Kenya Business Guide is to see a more vibrant business and investment environment that contributes to wealth creation and a more prosperous society.

BISSA: Where do you foresee Kenya Business Guide say in the next two years?

SS: In the next two years, the Kenya Business Guide will be the single largest and most influential think-tank in Kenya providing information and analysis on the Kenyan economy, business and investment.