Kenya’s VP takes home valuable lessons

Three day visit to Cayman ended on Thursday

Kenya’s Vice President Stephen
Kalonzo Musyoka ended a three-day visit to the Cayman Islands on Thursday with
a press conference summarising his experience.

The visit by Kenya’s vice president
came at the invitation of Premier McKeeva Bush and Pastor Al Ebanks, who met
Mr. Musyoka on a 10-day church mission trip to Kenya one and a half years ago.

During his stay Mr. Musyoka met
with a number of government and private sector representatives including the
Governor Duncan Taylor, Premier McKeeva, the Chamber of Commerce, the Cayman
Islands Monetary Authority and the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange.

At a press conference that concluded
his visit to Cayman Mr. Musyoka said he would take home many lessons.

“We did not know what to expect,
but leave the islands tremendously enriched by what we have seen and we have
learned quite a lot,” said Mr. Musyoka.

He specifically referred to
Cayman’s successful revision of its constitution, which is something that Kenya
has tried to do for the last 20 years, according to the president.

He was also interested to learn
that the financial services industry in Cayman had weathered the financial
crisis very well, not least due to the country’s strong regulatory framework,
Mr. Masyoka said. He named Cayman’s anti-money laundering regulations and
corruption laws as examples and also commended CIMA for its work. I think that
CIMA should go out and visit Kenya and share “how they can so ably manage the
monetary segment of this country’s economy”, he stated.

Mr. Musyoka further cited
performance related contracting in Cayman’s civil service and the prison system
as areas, where he gained valuable insight.

He was also impressed with Cayman’s
great potential for cruise ship tourism. Kenya has a seafront that, in his
opinion, is currently under-utilised, mainly due to the problems with piracy
along the Somali costs, Kenya’s neighbouring country.

The problems with piracy have
affected tourism and the economy in the region, he added, but the countries of
the region “work as much as they can to help Somalia settle”.

Mr. Musyoka said he was looking
forward to a Caymanian trade delegation led by the Chamber of Commerce coming
to Kenya. The whole region with Nairobi as a hub will offer investment opportunities
not least due to the East African common market of more than 130 million
people, which will be established on 1 July. The East African Community will
guarantee the free movement of goods and people between the three member
countries Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

Mr. Musyoka sees investment
opportunities in Kenya in several “flagship” projects, the government has
identified, including clean geo-thermal energy, the tourism industry and
construction.

The government is committed to
reducing red tape and accelerating registration and licensing processes, he
said. Tax benefits, depending on the size of the investment are also available
and the repatriation of funds is guaranteed through a foreign direct investment
protection act that has been in force for several years, he added.

On the export side Kenya is famous
for coffee, tea and horticulture and Kenyan flowers have been exported as far
as Miami, he said.

“I am sure that when a trade
delegation comes to Kenya, they will not come home empty handed,” Mr. Musyoka
said.

“We may be arguably separated by
distance but in a globalised world […] that does not mean that Kenya and the
Cayman Islands are far apart. After all our two countries are still members of
the Commonwealth and we share that history,” he concluded.

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Kenya’s Vice President Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka
Photo: Michael Klein

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