12th March 2014
Businesses in Kenya may face an uphill battle against corruption every day, but they are to receive a helping hand thanks to a new initiative from the government.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has vowed to work alongside Transparency International (TI) to fight corruption in the country, in a move that could make it more appealing for businesses and investors.
TI recently ranked Kenya among some of the world’s most corrupt countries. It scored 27 out of 100 in the Berlin-based group’s 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index, which saw it ranked136th out of the 177 nations looked at.
As part of the initiative, government officials will meet TI representatives twice a year to assess progress.
“We will encourage the government and companies to publicly disclose information of all financial payments in the mining, gas and oil industries to prevent corruption and enable citizens to play their civic duty of holding individuals and institutions to account, ” said TI-Kenya executive director Samuel Kimeu.
There will be a particular focus on the mining industry, with the aim of promoting “greater accountability in the management of natural resource so that ordinary people benefit from the proceeds of the mining sector”. With this in mind TI has asked the government to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to commit to greater transparency in the mining sector.
Corruption remains a hot topic in Kenya, with one human rights lobby warning this month that corruption has increased since devolved governments were introduced.
"While huge sums of taxpayers' money was being lost to the then centralised system of governance, it has now become apparent that collectively, Kenyans are losing much more through the devolved system of governance," said Haki Africa in a statement.
In Mombasa there is evidence, according to the group, that cartels are “extorting money from businesses”, with politicians behind some of the corrupt activity.
Progress clearly needs to be made, but initiatives such as that of TI and the Kenyan government could go a long way to improving the situation for Kenya’s businesses and individuals.