Editorial: Counties should embrace investors

President Uhuru Kenyatta with UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon at the launch of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in Nairobi on July 17. Kenya hosted the 14th session of the Unctad /ENOS TECHE
President Uhuru Kenyatta with UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon at the launch of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in Nairobi on July 17. Kenya hosted the 14th session of the Unctad /ENOS TECHE

Foreign direct investment is key to the growth of developing countries.

Driven by private firms, it helps develop sectors like infrastructure, energy and water, in turn, creating jobs.

UNCTAD's 2018 World Investment Report places the FDI influx to Kenya in 2017 at $672 million (Sh67.4 billion), a 70 per cent increase from 2016.

The total stock of FDI stood at $11.9 billion (Sh1.2 trillion), which is 15.9 per cent of Kenya's GDP.

The country has equally made steady progress, according to the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business report.

Sadly, the goings-on in Magadi, Kajiado county between conglomerate Tata Chemicals and the county leadership blemish such achievements.

While we appreciate the county needs revenue, Governor Joseph Ole Lenku's populist and militant approach to force payments from Tata will definitely keep off other potential investors.

Shutting godowns, blocking entrances, stopping a privately run passenger train service and inciting locals against Tata is not the way to go.

Having served as a minister, Lenku is better placed to know which offices to engage to find a solution to the dispute.

The sooner he ends this brinkmanship, the better for Kajiado and Kenya.