KEPSA CEO, Ms. Carole Kariuki, was invited to Business Ireland Kenya (BIK) Annual General Meeting (AGM) as a panel discussant on 1st December, 2017 at Capital Club, Westlands. Business Ireland Kenya is an association that helps those with professional ties to Ireland and Kenya connect, share and grow which works to facilitate networking between its members and help them get information and resources they need to be successful.

The panel discussed various questions including the impact of the past year on private sector activity in Kenya where the discussants agreed that business only thrives when there is certainty and that election goes hand in hand with political risks. Ms. Kariuki emphasized that there is a lot of optimism in Kenya by investors and despite the prolonged political season, they are still looking at Kenya as an investment destination. She added that even local investors are now looking to expand.

The panel deliberated on the issue of borrowing by countries and Ms. Kariuki said a country needs to be careful not to hit 70% and that it can borrow to put into projects to spur economic growth.

In response to the question on what needs to be done to increase the availability for jobs for youth, Ms. Kariuki informed the audience the effect of the power user tariff reduction to the manufacturing sector and some of KEPSA’s engagements on the projects it is involved in to increase availability of jobs for youth including Kenya Youth Empowerment Project (KYEP), KEPSA’s involvement in TVET and Ajira Digital Program highlighting the soft skills training on the youth. She added that with the push for SEZs this will help increase employment opportunities for youth.

Ms. Kariuki concluded by applauding BIK for the great job in its bid to deepen its relationship with Kenyan businesses by identifying areas of interest through their involvement in Agro Industry which contributes to 32% of Kenya’s GDP.