Feature:KEPSA:Going Against All Odds
- The Private Sector Alliance is aligning Businesses to be Climate-Action Oriented;
Private sector apex and umbrella body, KEPSA, an organization that brings together business communities in a single voice to engage and influence public policy, had late last year launched a strategy that aims to promote coordinated and inclusive business climate change solutions across the sector.
The strategy was anchored on climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation and resilience, climate information and capacity building and Public-Private partnership for climate change.
The firm aims to be a reference point for the private sector decisions on climate change in addition to providing the sector with steps towards enhancing climate change mitigation and adaptation through investment, awareness creation and channeling resources to combat climate change for business sustainability.
KEPSA reiterated that the private sectors face significant exposure to climate risk through its assets, operations, and supply chains and hence the firm has considerable reasons to invest in climate risk management, to not only protect itself but also harness new business opportunities arising from the changing climate.
“The Private Sector Strategy on Climate Change Solutions in Kenya identifies actions that the private sector will take between 2022 and 2030 in contributing to the achievement of the government climate change targets and is positioned to be Kenya’s Business Commitment to Climate Action(B2CAK) for both Corporates and SMEs,” said KEPSA.
Different stakeholders have joined hands to the strategy through the Green Climate Fund (GCF) whose outcome intends to strengthen and institutionalize the private sector involvement and investment in climate change adaptation.
Mamo Boru Mamo, Director General of the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) also said that the strategy will be a good move as it offers the private sector an opportunity to set institutional and strategic mechanisms to galvanize sector-wide resources toward a unified national climate change priorities approach.
“Addressing the impacts of climate change and promoting green growth, necessitates a concerted effort from both the state and non-state actors,” he said.
As a key factor, the umbrella body had also in October 2022 pledged to the President, William Ruto to make good on his tax reforms pledges if businesses were to thrive in an economy that was yet to shake off the August 2022 elections.
It also called for overall transparency in the taxation reform processes amid plans to rename Kenya Revenue Authority(KRA) to Kenya Revenue Service (KRS)
“Even so we applaud the President’s commitment to maintaining the tax code consistency and predictability to support long-term investment strategies. This will help make the policy and regulatory framework around tax collection and administration more transparent,” said Chief Executive Carole Kariuki.
While the current administration has been attempting to remove many hindrances to business growth, including making credit reachable to small businesses (SMEs), KEPSA is still apprehensive.
And as a big number of Kenyan businesses wallow in inflation filled concerns as well as the unhinged value of the shilling, KEPSA officials want the pronouncements by the President on affordable and available credit to SMEs be made a reality.
The firm has recently participated in the Private Sector National Workshop on the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) agreement.
The purpose of the forum was to enhance the awareness of the ACFTA agreement and its annexes to business as well as bring the Kenya private sector on board to take up trade opportunities under the agreement.
KEPSA Deputy CEO, Mr. Victor Ogalo strongly advocated for the need to move from talking into action noting that many state declarations have turned out to be just ceremonial
During the forum, presentations on a wide range of topics were delivered, including the background of ACFTA, its establishment, objectives, principles and scope, the role of the private sector in the success of the trade agreement, the structure of the protocol on trade in goods and the protocol on trade in goods annexes.
The firm has of recent also participated in the E-Mobility Stakeholders’ Conference by Kenya Power to focus on the development of bespoke, world-class charging infrastructure, technologies and attendant ancillary services to power the uptake of e-mobility in Kenya and position the country as a regional leader, the theme of the forum being Powering E-mobility in Kenya.
With growing recognition of the advantages of e-mobility and calls for clean energy solutions to tackle climate change, the market for electric-powered vehicles is anticipated to expand in the coming years.
In this regard Kenya Power revealed that it’s in the process of hiring a consultant to guide the development of an e-mobility Network Infrastructure System (ENIS) to pilot the electric vehicle charging stations both for company use and demonstration purposes.
KEPSA Director in charge of Energy and Extractives, Eng. James Mwangi, lauded the electricity distributor for coming up with a specific tariff for E-Mobility while adding that KEPSA was keen to offer support in policies and legislations that will promote e-mobility.
“The private sector, government and all key stakeholders in the sector also have a role in raising awareness and educating the public about the benefits of e-mobility and the importance of transitioning to a low-carbon transportation system,” he said.
So as to support the youths in the country to divert them from illegal businesses and crimes, KEPSA on October 31 2022 launched a program that targets to create at least one million jobs for the youth and women annually for the next five years.
The program dubbed, Kenya Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Accelerator Program (K- YEEAP), seeks to incorporate the youth in the socio-economic development of the country and will leverage technology and digital transformation in line with the agenda of the Kenya Kwanza government.
According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), approximately 800,000 young Kenyans enter the labor market every year from universities.
With the rate of youth unemployment in the market estimated at 38.9 per cent, the country’s economy has however not matched the high demand of creating new jobs to accommodate graduates from different institutions of learning.
Kariuki noted that the sector will leverage technology and digital transformation to allow the entrepreneurs to scale their businesses as well as support services that will allow the youth to grow and create jobs after completing their university course.
“The main aim of KEPSA is to encourage economic development and job creation in Kenya. This initiative aims to address barriers to youth employment such as demand and absorption capacity creation, given the dual challenges of a growing youth bulge and the systemic bottlenecks that youth face when entering the labor market,” said Kariuki.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, noted that the government will provide the needed support to help the youth achieve their dreams.
“The youth remain central to our government’s agenda to improve the lives of the millions of youth around the country,” said Gachagua.
KEPSA being a voice of the private sector in Kenya ensures year-on-year improvement in the overall business environment of Kenya by working together with the Government and other stakeholders.