Laikipia is a strategic investment and settlement county that is attracting investors from various countries. The natural beauty, Security, investment opportunities, land and cheap labour, some of them not found in many parts of the country, make Laikipia more attractive.
Devolution, system of government introduced in Kenya under the 2010 Constitution, divided the country into 47 counties each with its own government and county assembly. One of these counties is Laikipia.
The county, in the slopes of Mt Kenya, is 9,462 km2, with a population of over 400,000. It borders Samburu County to the North, Isiolo to the Northeast, Meru and Nyeri to the South, Nyandarua and Nakuru to the Southwest, and Baringo to the west. Nanyuki, the county headquarters, is 200Kms from Nairobi City, on the northwest of Mount Kenya.
The county has five towns – Nyahururu, Rumuruti and Kinamba in the west, Nanyuki in the east, and Doldol in the north – and group ranches occupy half of it.
Laikipia is home to many Europeans, some owning or managing the leading ranches. Indeed, a number of the large-scale farmers kicked out of Zimbabwe leave here.
“This is a peaceful, prosperous model county open to all human races to live in and do business,” the Laikipia Governor Joshua Irungu said. “White farmers are included in all the boards managing the various sectors in the county. The doctrine of exclusion based on race or religion does not apply in Laikipia,” he added.
Kuki Gallman, born in Italy, now a Kenyan citizen, has lived in Kenya for over 30 years. Gallman owns the Ol Ari Nyiro Ranch of over 100,000 acres. The ranch holds the largest stock of black rhinos outside the protected areas. Investment Opportunities
The Kenya Commission for Revenue Allocation ranked Laikipia the 5th potential county, out of 47, in terms of resources and attractiveness to investors.
Tourism, ICT, agriculture, transport and infrastructure, manufacturing, communications, power generation, such as solar, wind, Electricity, and bio-fuel are some of lucrative ventures lucking in the county.
Agro-industries – cereals milling, meat and fruits processing, including hides and skins – top the list.
According to the Governor Irungu, Laikipia has the best beef and the Kenya Meat Commission uses it to blend its beef for the export.
Based on the 2009 population census, the county had 189,685 heads of cattle and 623,648 sheep and goats.â€¨
Laikipia is an economic strategic county in line with the Kenya’s Vision 2030. The LAPSSET – Lamu to South Sudan Standard Railway Gauge (SRG) will pass through the county. The Great North Road linking the rest of the country with the northern Kenya also passes here.
The proposed Isiolo Resort City, with an international airport, is 75Kms from Nanyuki Town.
“We have plaint of land, friendly people and enough labour force and supportive government. Laikipia is a cosmopolitan county and all the people here a settlers from various parts of Kenya, Europe, Asia, America and other parts of Africa,” The Laikipia Chairperson of the Kenya Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Francis Gitonga, said.
“The county government support willing investors, through allocation or identification of appropriate land for any project in the county. It also assists to ensure the investors get the required documents and licences,” the County Minister for Trade Tourism, Co-operatives and Industrialisation, Jane Putunoi, said.
Laikipia is ranked fourth of the six best destinations in Africa and 19 out of 52 in the world, according to the York Times 2014 report, ‘52 Places to Go in 2014’.
It comes after Cape Town in South Africa, Namibia, and Addis-Ababa in Ethiopia. The Seychelles, and Dar-Es-Salaam in Tanzania, follow in the fifth and sixth positions respectively.
â€¨Some of tourism attractions in the county include the Mount Kenya, Ole Pejeta Conservancy in Nanyuki, where three of the four remaining northern white rhinos in the world are found. Thompson Falls in Nyahururu, and Sior view point at Mugokodo forest. The scenery and cultural features of Maasai, Pokot and Sumburu dancers, the Masaai Warriors’ Cricket team, and the Il Polei women cultural centre, summarise the beauty.
The remnants of Yaaku tribe are also an attraction to tourists, researchers and historians who what to learn more about the extinct tribe.
The Yaaku were hunter-gatherer and beekeepers that lived in caves, but they later lost their identity to the Maasai tribe. The tribe is now extinct and about 10 people speak the language.
The county has the largest population of elephants, second after the Tsavo National Park. The county has the largest stock of wildlife outside the gazetted protected areas. Most of the wildlife is found in private and group ranches.
Laikipia has never experience terrorism treat, perhaps due to high presence of the military. Nanyuki hosts the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK), in addition to The Kenya Air Force Base. The forces make Laikipia a no-go zone for terrorists.
The agricultural sector faces challenges, such as lack of agro-industries, mechanised farming and dependence on rain. Cattle rustling are also common. The Pokot, Samburu and Turkana Tribesmen steal livestock from the local farmers. In several occasions, they invade and graze in private land, including the Europeans ranches. The Morans (warriors) are usually armed.
Laikipia has attracted potential investors from the UK, US, Canada, South Africa, Namibia, China, Brazil, in addition to Kenyan companies.
Despite Covid-19 interrupting trade worldwide, exporting companies in Botswana which benefited from the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) services realised P2.96 billion in export earnings during the period from April 2020 to March 2021.
In the preceding financial year, the sale of locally manufactured products in foreign markets had registered export revenue of P2, 427 billion against a target of P3, 211 billion BITC, which celebrates 10 years since establishment, continues to carry out several initiatives targeted towards expanding the Botswana export base in line with Botswana’s desire to be an export led economy, underpinned by a robust export promotion programme in line with the National Export Strategy.
The main products exported were swamp cruiser boats, pvc tanks and pvc pipes, ignition wiring sets, semi-precious stones, veterinary medicines, hair braids, coal, textiles (towels and t-shirts) and automobile batteries. These goods were destined mainly for South Africa, Zimbabwe, Austria, Germany, and Namibia.
With Covid-19 still a problem, BITC continues to roll out targeted virtual trade promotion missions across the SADC region with a view to seeking long-lasting market opportunities for locally manufactured products.
Recently, the Centre facilitated participation for Botswana companies at the Eastern Cape Development Council (ECDC) Virtual Export Symposium, the Botswana-Zimbabwe Virtual Trade Mission, the Botswana-Zambia Virtual Trade Mission, Botswana-South Africa Virtual Buyer/Seller Mission as well as the Botswana-Namibia Virtual Trade Mission.
BITC has introduced an e-Exporting programme aimed at assisting Botswana exporters to conduct business on several recommended e-commerce platforms. Due to the advent of COVID-19, BITC is currently promoting e-trade among companies through the establishment of e-commerce platforms and is assisting local companies to embrace digitisation by adopting e-commerce platforms to reach export markets as well as assisting local e-commerce platform developers to scale up their online marketplaces.
During the 2019/2020 financial year, BITC embarked on several initiatives targeted at growing exports in the country; facilitation of participation of local companies in international trade platforms in order to enhance export sales of local products and services into external markets.
BITC also helped in capacity development of local companies to compete in global markets and the nurturing of export awareness and culture among local manufacturers in order to enhance their skills and knowledge of export processes; and in development and implementation of trade facilitation tools that look to improve the overall ease of doing business in Botswana.
As part of building export capacity in 2019/20, six (6) companies were selected to initiate a process to be Organic and Fair Trade Certified. These companies are; Blue Pride (Pty) Ltd, Motlopi Beverages, Moringa Technology Industries (Pty) Ltd, Sleek Foods, Maungo Craft and Divine Morula.
In 2019 seven companies which were enrolled in the Botswana Exporter Development Programme were capacitated with attaining BOBS ISO 9001: 2015 certification. Three (3) companies successfully attained BOBS ISO 9001:2015 certification. These were Lithoflex (Pty) Ltd, General Packaging Industries and Power Engineering.
BITC’s annual flagship exhibition, Global Expo Botswana (GEB) to create opportunities for trade and strategic synergies between local and international companies. The Global Expo Botswana) is a premier business to business exposition that attracts FDI, expansion of domestic investment, promotion of exports of locally produced goods and services and promotion of trade between Botswana and other countries.
The portal also provides information on; measures, legal documents, and forms and procedures needed by Botswana companies that intend on doing business abroad. BITC continues to assist both potential and existing local manufacturing and service entities to realise their export ambitions. This assistance is pursued through the ambit of the Botswana Exporter Development Programme (BEDP) and the Trade Promotion Programme.
BEDP was revised in 2020 in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with a vision to developing a diversified export-based economy. The programme focuses mostly on capacitating companies to reach export readiness status.
Prices for goods and services in this country continue to increase, with the latest figures from Statistics Botswana showing that in May 2022, inflation rate rose to 11.9 percent from 9.6 percent recorded in April 2022.
According to Statistics Botswana update released this week, the largest upward contributions to the annual inflation rate in May 2022 came from increase in the cost of transport (7.2 percent), housing, water, electricity, gas & other Fuels (1.4 percent), food & non-alcoholic beverages (1.1 percent) and miscellaneous goods & services (0.8 percent).
With regard to regional inflation rates between April and May 2022, the Rural Villages inflation rate went up by 2.5 percentage points, from 9.6 percent in April to 12.1 percent in May 2022, according to the government owned statistics entity.
In the monthly update the entity stated that the Urban Villages inflation rate stood at 11.8 percent in May 2022, a rise of 2.4 percentage points from the April rate of 9.4 percent, whereas the Cities & Towns inflation rate recorded an increase of 1.9 percentage points, from 9.9 percent in April to 11.8 percent in May.
Commenting on the national Consumer Price Index, the entity stated that it went up by 2.6 percent, from 120.1 in April to 123.2 in May 2022. Statisticians from the entity noted that the transport group index registered an increase of 7.3 percent, from 134.5 in April to 144.2 in May, mainly due to the rise in retail pump prices for petrol and diesel by P1.54 and P2.74 per litre respectively, which effected on the 13th of May 2022.
The food & non-alcoholic beverages group index rose by 2.6 percent, from 118.6 in April 2022 to 121.6 in May 2022 and this came as a result of increase in prices of oils & fats, vegetables, bread & cereal, mineral waters, soft drinks, fruits & vegetables juices, fish (Fresh, Chilled & Frozen) and meat (Fresh, Chilled & Frozen), according to the Statisticians.
The Statisticians said the furnishing, household equipment & routine maintenance group index rose by 1.0 percent, from 111.6 in April 2022 to 112.7 in May 2022 and this was attributed to a general increase in prices of household appliances, glassware, tableware & household utensils and goods & services for household maintenance.
The prices for clothing & footwear group index moved from 109.4 to 110.4, registering a rise of 0.9 percent during the period under review. Bank of Botswana has projected higher inflation in the short term, associated with the likelihood of further increases in domestic fuel prices in response to persistent high international oil prices and added that the possible increase in public service salaries could add also upward pressure to inflation in this country.
In the latest June 2022 global economic prospects, released last week the World Bank has warned that low global economic growth and economic activity in global commodity markets such as China and Europe could negatively affect export revenues for Botswana and other Sub Saharan countries.
Recent data from Statistics Botswana show that Botswana’s exports destined to the global markets such as Asia and the European Union (EU) on monthly basis accounts for around 60.1 percent and 20.1 percent respectively.
The World Bank last week lowered its 2022 projections of global economic growth and indicated that the new forecasts could be bad news for countries like Botswana who are dependent on export mineral revenues. The Bank noted that just over two years after COVID-19 caused the deepest global recession since World War II, the world economy is again in danger and stated that this time it is facing high inflation and slow growth at the same time.
In the recent June projections, the bank lowered its forecast of global economic growth from the January 4.1 percent to 2.1 percent. “Our June forecasts reflect a sizable downgrade to the outlook: global growth is expected to slow sharply from 5.7 percent in 2021 to 2.9 percent this year. This also reflects a nearly one-third cut to our January 2022 forecast for this year of 4.1 percent,” a team of World Bank economists noted in the June 2022 Global Economic Prospects.
The World Bank indicated that exports from Botswana and other Sub Saharan countries could suffer from a substantial deceleration of activity in China and Europe. The Bank noted that exporters of industrial metals, crude oil, and ores such as Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, South Africa, and Zambia could suffer from a substantial deceleration of activity in China.
On the other hand a sharp contraction of growth in the euro area could hurt exporters of agricultural products such as beef, coffee, tea, tobacco, cotton, and textiles from Botswana, Ethiopia, Madagascar and Malawi. “The faster-than-expected deceleration of the global economy and increased volatility of commodity prices could hurt many SSA commodity exporters,” said World Bank President David Malpass.
Malpass indicated that subdued growth in the global markets for Botswana and other Sub Saharan exports will likely persist throughout the decade because of weak investment in most of the world.
He noted that with inflation now running at multi-decade highs in many countries and supply expected to grow slowly, inflation could remain higher for longer than currently anticipated. “Even if a global recession is averted, the pain of stagflation could persist for several years— unless major supply increases are set in motion. Amid the war in Ukraine, surging inflation, and rising interest rates, global economic growth is expected to slump in 2022. Several years of above-average inflation and below-average growth are now likely,” said Malpass.