The Hub, Grow Africa, Kenya Investment Authority and the AGRF Secretariat co-hosted a private sector CEO breakfast on the sidelines of the Africa Green Revolution Forum 2016. The Investing in Kenya session brought together industry leaders, company CEOs, investors, and investment facilitators to discuss the many investment opportunities available along the agricultural value chain, how to connect companies to commercial opportunities, and how to collaborate with government to reduce policy-related risks. The Hub took the opportunity to emphasize the larger regional aspect of USAID’s support for East African investment promotion and detail some of the agriculture investments it has facilitated.
In the past, the agricultural sector in Kenya has gotten minimal investment attention. This is changing. It is now considered the industry most able to drive sustained, inclusive economic growth in Kenya and throughout the continent.
“Most countries that grew economically first grew through their agricultural sector. As a country we need to invest in the agricultural sector. We need to grow from small to large, most famers in the agricultural sector are small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs),” said Kenya Private Sector Alliance Governor Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Dr. John Mutunga pictured below.
SMEs are key drivers of economic and social development in the African context. They represent a large number of businesses in Kenya and the continent but still face challenges accessing finance to grow their businesses.
“We must come up with a way of financing SMEs. If we can’t provide financing to SMEs we have lost the war in growing Kenya’s agricultural sector,” said Kenya Agribusiness and Agroindustry Alliance Chief Executive Officer, Lucy Muchoki.
The participants in attendance shared the view that SMEs in the agricultural sector need greater access to financing, particularly from banks.
“The banking module in Kenya does not lend itself to the agricultural sector. The banking module needs to accommodate the sector,” said Chairperson Kenya Private Sector Alliance Ambassador Dennis Awori.