World Bank ranks Uasin Gishu and Kisumu as most investor-friendly


A street in Eldoret town, Uasin Gishu County. Businesses are registered faster in the county than anywhere else in the country, according to a WB report. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA

It takes an investor the shortest time to start a business in Uasin Gishu and quickest period to obtain construction permit in Kisumu, the World Bank’s Doing Business in Kenya 2016 shows.

Uasin Gishu County has leapt five places from the sixth position it held in 2012 to top the list of Kenya’s favourable investment destination in the report released yesterday. In total only 11 counties were surveyed.

The World Bank found that it takes only 20 days and costs 20.4 per cent of income per capita to start a business in Uasin Gishu.

By comparison, it takes 21 days to start a business in either Kiambu or Machakos with average cost of 19.1 and 20.9 per cent per capita income respectively.

Similarly, it takes 15 procedures to obtain construction permit in Kisumu compared to 16 in Busia, 17 in Nyeri and 18 in Isiolo. Kisumu too ranked at sixth position in the issuance of permits the last time the survey was done in 2012.

Across the country, the report hails the revised company law and Huduma Centres as iconic public initiatives that have cut the logistical burden of doing businesses in Kenya.

“The new initiatives in Kenya are encouraging, but challenges remain,” said Augusto Lopez Claros, director of global indicators at the World Bank. “The success of reforms hinges on better implementation, coordination across tiers of government and sustained capacity building to empower counties to make it easier to do business.”

Busia gets favourable rating on enforcement of contracts which takes seven days for a judicial process to go through while Nairobi with its digitised land registry boasts the lowest cost of property registration at six per cent of property value.

The indicators- business licensing, property registration, construction permits and contract enforcing- are the parameters that the World Bank used to rank the counties.

The report notes there is lack of a consistent pattern by any county government to lure investors.

The World Bank said county governments need to do more to improve the investment climate through legislation enabling residents to access employment and thereby curbing poverty.

In Nairobi and Kiambu counties investors wait for 160 days to get construction permit compared to 98 days in Kisumu, 72 days in Busia and 75 days in Isiolo.

The report released in Nairobi observed that Kiambu currently fighting to shed the ‘Nairobi bedroom’ tag maintained its second position for the second year on business registration followed by Machakos, Mombasa, Nairobi, Isiolo, Busia, Kisumu, Nyeri, Narok and Kakamega respectively.

Saying devolution was good for driving investments in various regions enjoying availability of unique individual resources, the World Bank added that county governments under scrutiny lacked consistency on key indicators they performed well in like Nairobi which in 2012 topped in business registration but had dropped to position five in the latest survey.

Interestingly, Mombasa takes the shortest time to have property registered at 41 days followed by Uasin Gishu, Busia, Nyeri, Kisumu, Narok, Kiambu, Machakos, Kakamega and isiolo in that order.

The World Bank report hailed last year’s amendment of the Companies Act that has eliminated swearing of affidavits before registration documents are filed saying it has reduced costs.

Establishment of Huduma centres which provided one-stop shop services for searching of business names helped ease conditions for doing business.