Sunday, March 25, 2007

Kimunya Attempts to woo Kenyan Diaspora

Amos Kimunya, Finance Minister and head of the delegation promoting investments in Kenya, no doubt well aware of this case, deliberately ignored questions regarding the hostile investment climate, bureaucratic thuggery, and the hostile take-over of investment ideas. In a flash, the whole trip became an exercise in futility, a waste of tax payer resources. Kimunya and company had come to the USA to explain how the government has made it easy to invest in Kenya. Refusing to address such a specific case is exactly how not to court investors, this is the stuff of investor nightmares.

That the Finance Minister was not interested in dialogue was also proved by his failure to grasp the conceptual benefits of -dual citizenship with regard to investments that was well articulated by Mkawasi Mcharo, (President Kenya Community Abroad-KCA). A citizen of both the USA and Kenya for example, enjoying local status in both countries is unencumbered in his investments by laws decreeing specific local shareholding. This is especially important in heavily regulated sectors like the telecommunications one. The dismissive attitude of the Minister, summarized as- it took the same path as the Wako draft and died- is extremely unhelpful if Kenyans abroad are to take a greater part in nation-building. If the Ministry of Finance is serious about promoting investments by Kenyans abroad it must soon integrate calls for dual citizenship into the minimum constitution reforms that Kibaki has agreed to support?

Job Obonyo analyzes the Finance Minister's investment visit to Washington DC.