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Gov't investment advisor Humphrey Kariuki on why Kenya lags behind

Billionaire Humphrey Kariuki sheds light on Kenya's economic setbacks

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua walks along Humphrey Kariuki and MP Ndindi Nyoro during a past event

Billionaire Humphrey Kariuki, a member of the National Investments Council and an influential figure in Kenya's business landscape, delved into the critical issue hindering Kenya's economic growth—lack of access to reliable electricity.

Kariuki, renowned for his entrepreneurial journey that began in Nairobi in the early 1980s, emphasised the pivotal role of entrepreneurship in driving employment and economic growth.

He underscored the need to remove barriers and create incentives for entrepreneurs, acknowledging the hard work and dedication that goes into building a successful business.

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The billionaire highlighted the importance of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in job creation, especially for the youth who bring innovation and global connectivity.

Kariuki expressed his belief that connecting to global value chains (GVCs) is crucial for Kenya's transition into a globally competitive economy.

This connection, he stated, would facilitate technology transfers and value upgrading.

Despite notable progress in built infrastructure, Kariuki pointed out a significant challenge—Kenya's electricity access gap.

He referenced a comparison by the World Bank, indicating that a considerable portion of Kenya's population still lacks access to accessible and reliable power.

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The billionaire investor illustrated the current situation by comparing Kenya to other developing countries like South Africa, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Colombia, where Kenya lags behind in electricity access.

Kariuki stressed the multifaceted negative impact of the lack of electricity, especially on SMEs, stating, "Lack of electricity has several negative knock-on effects but has a particularly detrimental impact on growth for SMEs."

He said that access to reliable electricity is a fundamental tool that empowers entrepreneurs to utilize better and more effective technologies for innovation.

Kariuki was among those appointed to the National Investments Council by President William Ruto.

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Others include KCB Group Managing Director Paul Russo, M-Pesa Africa CEO Sitoyo Lopokoiyit and Twiga Foods CEO Peter Njonjo.

Other members of the council include Ahmed Farah, Karen Taylor, Sarah Ochieng, Eva Warigia, Sheila Kyarisiima, David Langat and Tom Mulwa.

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