The Government of Kenya has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the British Chamber of Commerce Kenya (BCCK) to promote Kenya’s business climate reforms agenda.
BCCK’s Business Integrity Initiative and the Department of Business Reforms and Transformation (DBRT), under the Ministry of East African Community and Regional Development, will establish a joint programme to identify and recommend areas for reform, host public private workshops, and build private sector capacity.
Speaking during the signing of the MoU, Principal Secretary, State Department for East African Community in the Ministry of East African Community and Regional Development Dr Kevit Desai, said that business integrity is the foundation of international trade.
“While corruption is a global issue, it is a concern that has been raised in our discussions with businesses and international investors. This MoU will create a platform to reaffirm Kenya’s commitment to strengthening the business climate. It will also build private sector participation in the digitisation and automation of government services in procurement, revenue collection and cross-border trade,” he said.
The MoU will address some of the findings from the recent BCCK Business Integrity Market Survey, which measures the impact of corruption in the private sector and recommends areas for reform.
The survey found that 66% of the respondent companies in Kenya experience negative impacts on their business from corruption. Of these, 37% of respondent companies report financial impacts through loss of annual earnings or future investment. Annual losses of earnings relating to integrity lapses are valued at 23%, while losses of future investment are valued at 20%.
Recommendations from the private sector include accelerating the digitisation of government service delivery, as well as including more integrity content and programming in industry standards and professional development. Survey respondents also called for extensions on debarment of companies and directors found culpable for integrity lapses.
The UK’s High Commissioner to Kenya, Jane Marriott, said that improving business integrity underpins both the UK-Kenya Strategic Partnership and the building of a prosperous, safer, and healthier Kenya.
“The lessons from anti-corruption efforts in the UK, and globally, show the importance of building coalitions across government and civil society, as well as working with reformers to make incremental gains,” she said.
BCCK chairperson, Sonal Sejpal, said the work done by the Chamber to generate evidence-based recommendations for changes to integrity policies and practices, has shown that Kenya has a strong legal framework to combat corruption.
“The focus of this MoU is to support the private sector, the Government, and its development partners on enhancing enforcement and implementation,” she said.
The MoU follows a Public Private Dialogue on Integrity hosted by BCCK in Nairobi this month which was funded by the UK – Kenya Anticorruption Programme. It also follows a successful roadshow to the UK, organised by DBRT and the Department for International Trade, where investors were able to see the progress being made in Kenya on business reforms to improve integrity and trade.