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US report reveals corruption rot straining Kenyan and US business relationship 



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An official report from the US government has stated that bribery and corruption in the East African country is on the cusp of severely damaging business ties between Kenya and the United States.

The US report named the National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (NTE Report), stressed the menace of Bribery and corruption when conducting business in the East African country.

  • “Corruption remains a substantial barrier to doing business in Kenya. U.S. 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,” the report reads partly.
  • “Corruption is widely reported to affect government procurements at the national and county levels. Kenya has not effectively implemented its anti-corruption laws. U.S. firms routinely report direct requests for bribes from all levels of the Kenyan Government,” it adds.

The report highlighted how major US firms lose out on Kenyan contracts due to their refusal to pay bribes or wet the beaks of relevant Kenyan authorities.

The report also stated how efforts by Kenyan authorities to tackle the menace of bribery and corruption have yielded little to no results citing the backlog of cases and relentless misconduct.

  • “Despite efforts to increase efficiency and public confidence in the judiciary, the backlog of cases and continued corruption undermine the judicial system’s credibility and effectiveness. While judicial reforms are moving forward, bribes, extortion, and political considerations continue to influence court cases,” the report states.

The report also touched on the challenges faced by foreigners trying to own a piece of real estate in the country. It called out Kenyan laws on the property rights of foreigners which bars them from owning properties in the country.

The ban is courtesy of the 2010 Kenyan constitution which states that foreigners are not allowed to possess freehold land rights in Kenya, only leasehold titles for up to 99 years.

The report complained about the ambiguities experienced in the process of obtaining a clear title for undeveloped land.

US investors seeking to acquire a plot of undeveloped land risk receiving fake title deeds or lands with multiple deeds and authorized sales according to the report.

What to Know  

  • US companies based and doing business in Kenya are in a wide array of sectors ranging from Construction, Financial Services, and Telecommunications to Energy, Manufacturing, and Technology.
  • The United States and Kenya also boast one of the largest trade relationships in the world with bilateral investment and trade totaling about $1.6 trillion annually.
  • Corruption in African countries has been cited as an albatross to the political, economic, and social development of the continent.




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