By Bedah Mengo NAIROBI (Xinhua)
-- A good number of businesses
in Kenya have shown resilience this year despite a tough
operating environment resulting mainly from unstable
had a lengthy electioneering period this year affecting
business, with a political standoff between President
Uhuru Kenyatta and his rival Raila Odinga stretching for
months. However, Kenyatta was finally sworn in after two
controversial presidential polls.
to supermarkets, real estate, banking and petroleum
sectors, businesses have recorded some growth, offering
a silver lining in a year that was bad for many.
was mainly registered through rising number of customers
for businesses like hotels to acquisitions in the case
development recorded amid uncertainty in Kenya’s
political environment points to confidence in the Kenyan
hospitality sector, hotels at the Coastal region
recorded high tourist bookings, with the rise attributed
to the improved infrastructure following the launch of
the standard gauge railway.
80 percent bed occupancy in the last few months,
compared to 35 percent in June this year,” said PrideInn
Hotel managing director Hasnain Noorani recently.
hoteliers at the Coast have also recorded increased
occupancies in the last months attributable to events
like the Safari Rally, which kicked off mid-November
attracting both local and international tourists.
highlights not only the recovery of the tourism sector,
but also the increase in domestic tourism, according to
Cytonn, a Nairobi based investment firm.
the hospitality sector, noted Cytonn, showed an upward
trend in the first half of 2017 despite the political
There was a
13 percent growth in international arrivals and a 0.5
percent increase in accommodation and food services.
continued recovery in the hospitality sector in 2018,
given the improved security, growth of domestic tourism
with Kenyans accounting for 54 percent of total bed
nights and aggressive government marketing by Kenya
Tourism Board,” said Cytonn.
Still in the
hospitality sector, local coffee chain Java House opened
two branches in the second half of the year in Nairobi
showing growing business.
retail sector, the East African nation has attracted
several foreign firms among them Carrefour, Game and
Choppies, with the newcomers expanding and taking over
space once occupied with local businesses.
retail giant Carrefour and South Africa’s Game have this
year taken up space at various malls in Nairobi
previously occupied by Nakumatt, a local supermarket
that is facing financial turbulence.
of Kenya’s retail sector, according to analysts, is
being driven by three things, mainly a rising
middle-class with higher purchasing power, a robust
macroeconomic growth with an average GDP growth of about
5 percent over the last five years and poor corporate
governance that led to poor performance of some of the
local players thus opening up an opportunity for foreign
retailers into the market.
Kenya is the
second largest retail economy in the sub-Saharan Africa
after South Africa with an estimated 60 percent
penetration, according to Nielsen Research firm.
banking sector, despite a challenging environment
following the capping of interest rate, some banks like
Diamond Trust Bank expanded by acquiring Habib Bank Ltd,
with the deal being finalized in the third quarter of
expected more consolidation in 2017, however, smaller
banks have managed to stay independent pointing to
stabilizing and improved business in the sector.
Wandera, an economics lecturer in Nairobi, noted that
the expansions in various sectors showed that it has not
been all gloom for businesses in the country.
2017 has been tough for businesses in Kenya but not as
tougher as many people made us believe. The coming of
foreign supermarkets into the market, the setting up of
new branches by banks and other businesses, the rising
number of customers for hotels at the Coast show that
Kenya’s economy is resilient,” said Wandera.
noted that several companies like telecom Safaricom and
some banks have recorded increased profits this year,
pointing to better times in 2018.