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Economy

Kenya to get entrepreneurship centre as US commits Sh10bn

US President Barack Obama (left) and Kenyan
US President Barack Obama (left) and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta (centre) attend a panel discussion at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit at the United Nations compound in Nairobi on July 25, 2015. Seated alongside are Jahiel Oliver (right), CEO of Hello Tractor, Josipa Majic (2nd right), CEO of Teddy the Guardian and Judith Owegar (2nd left), co-founder of Akirachix. AFP PHOTO | SAUL LOEB 

President Barack Obama has announced the creation of centres in Africa that will benefit 1,600 women entrepreneurs.

The visiting US President said three such centres will be opened in Kenya, Zambia and Mali before the programme is expanded to cover other countries.

Speaking at the Sixth Global Entrepreneurship Summit held at the United Nations headquarters in Africa in Gigiri, Nairobi, be announced a $100 million dollars (Sh10 billion) US contribution to support the women enterprises around the world.

President Obama made the announcement when he co-hosted the GES with President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“The US is contributing $100 million to support women enterprises around the world. We are committing significant new resources to advance entrepreneurship in Saharan Africa. Women are powerhouse entrepreneurs, they feed families and communities,” he said.

President Obama challenged African governments to strengthen governance and remove hindrances to business.

“It is not all those who speak well about governance practice it but governments are moving to open up on governance. There is need to emphasize on governance issues,” he said.

He said Africa needs to know that governance has role a role in creating transparency in the easy of doing business.

“The is need to fight corruption for entrepreneurs to succeed,” he said adding that the choice of Kenya to host the first Global Economic Summit is as a result of African moving forward to middle economic status.

“I wanted to come here because African is moving. The middle class is growing and young people are using technology to grow business.

“Everyone puts their money where their mouth is. This means that the Africa has more growth and trade and this is good for all of us. This continent needs to be the future home for growth,” President Obama said.

He hailed Kenya for leading the way in economic and technological growth in Africa and cited the revolutionary money transfer service MPesa.

“Kenya is the largest economy in East Africa with high internet speeds and broadband. People send money across the world through MPesa,” he said.

President Kenyatta said Africa is the world newest and most promising frontier of unlimited opportunity and invited world entrepreneurs to invest in the continent.

“People have viewed the continent in one lens of despair and indignity. We as country and the continent do not claim perfection but we can claim progress,” Kenyatta said.

“We are beginning at great journey and we invite all of you to join us. We see as clearly as anyone that we demand human dignity and democratic ideals,” he said.

He said African economies for decades have been fast growing in the world. “Our forefathers won political freedoms we continue today that our continent still faces tough economic challenges,” he said.

Mr Kenyatta said Kenya has embraced the private sector saying Kenya is firmly and irreversibly aligned to progress and not politics of East versus West.

“As large part of the world age, African grows younger by the day. Kenyans are using their mobile phones airtime and innovations like MPesa,” he said.

He said Mkopa, a new Kenyan innovation had brought benefit of solar lighting to rural homes, relieving mothers of burden of fetching wood and lighting kerosene.

“We are resilient and great people. Nearly two years, Westgate Mall was scene of criminal brutality. The world viewed it as the emblem of violence and extremism,” he said adding that the mall was reopened last week and recorded higher sales than any other day in its history.

He told President Obama and nearly 2,000 delegates that the country had embraced democratic space which was secured by transformation in governance brought about by new Constitution.

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