New Year expectations from various captains of industry has been a mixed bag. However, key players are unanimous that 2021 has been a bumpy ride in the face of challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
There is a cheerful optimism about 2022, notwithstanding the 2022 general election jitters. We spoke to a few Captains of Industry about their views for the new year.
John Musunga, Managing Director, Kenya Breweries Limited:
The year 2021 has been a year of recovery for us at Kenya Breweries Limited as we continued to adjust to the challenges that came with the second year of the pandemic.
In the year, we invested ahead to return our business to our pre-Covid trajectory, focused our efforts on emerging trade channels and doubled down on our sustainability initiatives including publishing our first sustainability report.
We were delighted to partner with the government to procure and provide vaccines to our employees, trade partners and customers, consumers and the communities around our facilities.
We are hopeful that the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines will support the return to near normalcy.
Looking ahead in the new year, our hope is that the macro environment is conducive for our citizenry and business, particularly as we enter the electioneering period.
We also pray that the government reconsiders the unhealthy annual excise duty tax increases that have not only hurt business but also led to the proliferation of illicit alcohol, counterfeits and contraband which harm consumers and negatively impact bottled beer tax collection.
We need a win-win – a more predictable approach to taxation which allows industry to thrive and in turn contribute more to economic growth and ultimately tax collection.
In the new year, we shall be celebrating a big milestone at KBL – a 100 years of our existence. Kenyans can expect to see and hear more from us as we mark a centenary of our existence.
Chris Flowers, CEO Kakuzi Plc:
At Kakuzi Plc, we appreciate our employees who made 2021 a successful year, and we look forward to walking together into 2022.
We are delighted that we have made critical headway on the business front. For example, we are committed to enhancing our Avocado and macadamia production capacity with several recent investments valued at more than KSh 100million.
We currently have a thriving new immature avocado development area to boost our avocado production, with production expected to come online in the next few years.
Still, land preparation for a new Avocado crop is also underway in a crop area previously under pineapple production.
We appreciate that no company can operate in isolation on the community front. Thus, at Kakuzi, we place utmost emphasis on the community that has given us the license to trade.
We see the community as a critical pillar in our sustainability journey. As a result, in the new year, we shall be further stepping up our community engagements, as would be expected of a progressive corporate.
Prof Freida Brown, Interim Vice Chancellor United States International University-Africa:
At USIU-Africa, we are looking forward to the new year. We are confident that the New year portends excellent tidings for many economic sectors, including the academic delivery institutions. We successfully managed to integrate diversified educational delivery systems in the year 2021 that will enable USIU-Africa to act as an integrated academic centre.
An integrated academic centre that can deliver fulfilling, seamless physical and virtual academic programmes. This was a heavy investment that involved the integration of ICT systems and also human capital training.
The year 2021 also saw an international executive search commencement as we sought to retain a substantive Vice-Chancellor. The process is spearheaded by a United Kingdom-based firm, Oxford HR, a specialist executive search and organisational effectiveness firm. We are optimistic that the new year will see us welcoming a new competitively recruited Vice-Chancellor.
Alongside the management aspects, we shall be focusing our energies on executing the latest five-year Strategic Plan 2021-2026. This is a very robust strategic plan founded on solid pillars to allow USIU-Africa to thrive.
It has considered the current disruptions in the global and national higher education system with its varied challenges and opportunities for growth.
Undoubtedly, in the new year, we are looking forward to fulfilling experiences for the new intake and continuing students.
Dr Anastasia Nyalita, CEO Kenya Health Federation:
The Kenyan economy has shown remarkable recovery capacity in the face of the pandemic. At the Kenya Health Federation, we are upbeat that 2022 will be a better year for players in the healthcare delivery sector.
The year 2021 saw several healthcare providers affiliated with KHF making critical investments to boost healthcare delivery. A number of our members managed to expand and optimise their branch footprint. Many other existing providers were also able to enhance their delivery capacity by integrating new facilities such as extra beds, ICU equipment, Oxygen delivery systems, and even medical transport solutions.
All these critical investments estimated at close to KSh 5 billion will serve as healthcare enablers. Even as we navigate the current COVID-19 wave, KHF is confident that the local healthcare system and public and private infrastructure are better placed to handle the challenges. KHF members now have better information reporting systems which will significantly complement the capacity of the public health information system.
To further support health data sharing, KHF has partnered with Smart Applications International, Africa’s leading high-tech technology solutions company, to enable the KHF to have an automated system.
This information technology system will allow all KHF to Member organisations to easily collect and access crucial healthcare data within the country at the touch of a button.
Some of the key fields and data to be mined through the system include but are not limited to;- number of hospital beds in the country, bed occupancy, number of available COVID-19 beds and ventilators, and inpatient admission and a private sector-led Covid Vaccination status.
Therefore, we look forward to better health outcomes in the new year. We continue to support critical reforms touching on public institutions such as the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) and the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA).
Nasim Devji, Group CEO, DTB Bank:
The year 2021 has been a more positive year when compared to 2020. Various industries including banking drew strength from the resilience born in 2020. Business resumption was more evident, and this indeed relieved the economic burden that dominated the previous year.
As far as banking is concerned, there was a shift in consumer behaviour which saw the adoption of digital channels reach a historic high.
In the new year, we remain committed to supporting the SME sector by continuing to pioneer new customer-centric innovations, thereby spurring economic growth in the country.