US flags Kenya over bribes, extortion in public tenders


US Trade Representative Katherine Tai addressing journalists at Serena Hotel, Nairobi on July 19, 2023. FILE PHOTO | LUCY WANJIRU | NMG

US firms are losing out on big contracts in Kenya due to bribe requests and extortion from top government officials in what has tilted scales in favour of foreign contractors willing to pay to secure tenders, the American government says in a new report.

The US has also flagged political interference in Kenya’s judiciary and extortion in public contracts, warning that the vices pose a barrier to investment inflows even as the two countries negotiated new trade and financing deals with President William Ruto’s government.

“Corruption remains a substantial barrier to doing business in Kenya. US firms continue to report challenges competing against foreign firms that are willing to ignore legal standards or engage in bribery and other forms of corruption,” US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in the report.

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