Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui has been named the Business-Friendly Governor of the Year.
Mr Kinyanjui is among three Kenyans who have been feted by the African Leadership Magazine for their exceptional leadership practices and outstanding achievements in Africa’s business landscape.
The three emerged the winners in the hotly contested African Business Leadership Awards 2020.
Other winners include KenGen CEO Rebecca Miano – who bagged the African Inspirational Business Leadership Award and Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi, who was announced the winner in the African CEO of the Year Category.
Safaricom Kenya also emerged the African Company of the Year, defeating Nigeria’s food and beverage company Nestle, which took the first runners-up position.
“Our winners and all the nominees truly deserve to be recognised for the outstanding work they have done over the last year and they continue to do for the development of our continent. Africa depends on businesses and its leaders for sustenance, jobs and wealth creation,” stated Dr Ken Giami, the publisher of the magazine, while unveiling the winners at his UK head office.
He added, “At this time when there are widespread disruptions occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, the role and place of the business community is to not only serve their clients, but become strong positive references for society on how to thrive amidst uncertainties, and inspire hope in people’s ability to aspire to solve more of the problems facing the African people today.”
The editorial board of the African Leadership Magazine unveiled the winners in the 17 categories of the continental awards.
The hotly contested awards attracted over 220,000 entries on the magazine’s website and across social media platforms, as well as submissions via email from Africans across the continent and in the diaspora.
The winners were picked through a three-step points-based selection process that included a call for nomination, a call for online voting for shortlisted nominees and the editorial board’s final review of the nominations and voting submissions. The board members used supporting evidence and voting considerations in their final decisions to decide the winners.
The online voting accounted for 65 percentage points and supporting evidence accounted for 35 per cent in the final selection process for this year’s winners.
Also considered were submissions from the magazine’s over one million subscribers and online followers.
Winners and runners-up in the competition will be honoured at the 5th US-Africa Investment Forum and Policy Dialogue that will be held virtually between September 29 and 30, 2020.
Mr Kinyanjui, a first time governor, trounced Ben Ayade, the governor of Cross Rivers State in South Africa, and David Makhura, the prime minister of Gauteng Province, also in South Africa, who had early last month been nominated for the award.
The African Business Leadership Awards recognise exceptional corporate practices and outstanding achievers in Africa’s business landscape and its private sector.
The 2020 edition recognised business leaders, visionaries and innovators who continue to shape African economies and drive today’s leading businesses that are making outstanding contributions to Africa’s economic development and post-Covid-19 response and recovery.
The accolade also recognises a state or regional governor in Africa who has contributed to the economic growth of his or her domain and managed to drive investment in his or her region, remarkably increasing commercial activities since assuming office.
Restore Nakuru’s glory
Since his election in 2017, Governor Kinyanjui has been pushing for the restoration Nakuru’s glory as an industrial hub.
Mr Kinyanjui has been luring investors, both local and international, seeking to make key investments in Nakuru.
His efforts have seen at least 100 local and foreign investors express interest in setting up shop at the planned Naivasha Special Economic Zone, which will be home to the much-awaited Naivasha Industrial Park and the already constructed Naivasha Inland Container Depot.
The investors from India, Europe, USA, Netherlands, China, Sri Lanka and Thailand, among other countries, seek to establish key investments within the economic zone.
Local investors also have their eyes fixed on the upcoming economic hub.
Once a vibrant, bustling industrial citadel, Nakuru town has in the past two decades witnessed a growing trend of grand exits of industrial investors.
But the county is slowly rising to its feet with improved infrastructure and more private investments.
Governor Kinyanjui’s administration has been targeting key investments to turn around the county’s fortunes and bolster its revenue base as its capital, Nakuru town, moves towards attaining a city status.
In the last two years, Nakuru has experienced an influx of multibillion shillings key investments including high-end hotels – Ole Ken, Sarova Woodlands and Lake Naivasha Resort –signifying the opportunities available in the region especially in hospitality and conferencing sectors.
Governor Kinyanjui has also been proactive in developing strategies to revive the economy amid the gloom brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Last month, Nakuru County passed a law allowing for creation of a fund to boost small scale businesses.
A recent survey by the Institute of Economic Affairs indicated that it is easier to start a business in Nakuru town compared to five other populous urban areas in Kenya because of a reduced tax burden.
The analysis measured performance indices in Nairobi, Nakuru, Kisumu, Eldoret, Machakos and Mombasa counties.
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