Kenya will need to address governance principles if Nairobi International Financial Centre is to take shape, and remain sustainable.
In an Ocorian Forum that took place in Nairobi recently, business leaders
“If you look at the big players that want to invest in entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship in Africa, very often they do not find the right amount of governance in these companies,” said Richard Arlove, Regional Chief Executive at Ocorian.
The Nairobi International Financial Centre has started to take shape following the invitation of bidders for key consultants set to steer the creation of the regional financial hub.
All this will be for naught if corporate governance is not addressed. “We need to build a financial centre based on governance principles. If you go into a playing field as an international financial centre, governance is the fisrt thing that you need to work with. Otherwise you will not be able to sustain it,” added Mr Arlove.
The evening event, dubbed Growing the Value of Your Cross-border Business, was the second in a series of Africa-wide Ocorian Forums that bring together business leaders from across the Kenyan financial and investment community.
Apart from My Arlove, the panel session was attended by Paul Kaluma, Catalyst Principal Partners chief executive, Esther Ndeti, East Africa Private equity and Venture Capital association executive director, and Andrew Mugambi, Partner Dentons Hamilton Harrison and Mathews. Vishal Agarwal, chariman and chief executive of Full Circle Africa moderated the session.
Launched in 2010 under the name of ABAX Forum, Ocorium Forum is a series of encounters with authoritative speakers involved in business across frontiers.
The first forum took place in Mauritius, where it focused on the private sector and government’s perspective with respect to investment in emerging markets.
The aim of Ocorian Forum series is to build awaresness of the role of International Financial Centres as accelerators of growth and the contribution they bring as investment platforms to the economies attracting foreign investment.
The Mauritian IFC is one of the most developed in the world. Mauritius is one of the best countries in Ease of Doing Business globally, and has been ranked highly in governance and global peace index.
“Investors do not use Mauritius because of its tax haven tag. When you combine these elements, as an investor, you would want to invest in a jurisdiction that ticks at all of these boxes. There is strict KYC (know your client) and money laundering restrictions in Mauritius,” says Mr Arlove.
The NIFC is an operating framework meant to facilitate and support the development of an efficient and competitive financial sector in Kenya.
Vision 2030 envisages the NIFC as a catalyst for Kenya to gain a stronger presence in sub-Saharan Africa’s growing financial services market.