Picture courtesy of planning.go.ke
If you want your business to succeed in a developing economy align your strategy to the country’s strategic development agenda. This is especially crucial for Small and Medium Enterprises which are prone to various risks and uncertainties. Aligning yourself with the government’s strategy not only buffers your business from risks but it can also allow you access various opportunities that come with government backed programs.
The development blueprint in Kenya is the Vision 2030 which details the priorities of the country to the year 2030. The Vision 2030 is implemented through 5-year plans referred to as medium-term plans. The first and second medium-term plans (MTP) have already been implemented and we are currently implementing the third medium-term plan. The development of the medium-term plans is also tied to the manifesto of the government of the day and therefore the MTP period is aligned to the 5year period of any government of the day. The current MTP 3, is aligned to the agenda 4 priorities by the Jubilee government.
Another reason why you might consider having a keen focus on the government’s strategic plan in regards to development is that international development partners and investors find finds it a bit stable to invest in businesses that are aligned to the agenda of the host country. This assures them the ease of meeting the objects as there is a bigger interest by the state in the said business.
For clean the enterprises, the MTP 3 mentioned above has progressive targets for the first time that are specific to climate change. This was after Climate Change was added as one of the thematic areas in the MTP 3 and will thus stand out as a priority area. There are various opportunities that are within the Climate Change agenda in the MTP which include the available funds which are the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Adaptation Fund (AF). All these are unique funding opportunities that an enterprise that has a mitigation and adaptation strategy can tap into. So, consider assessing the criteria for funding for the various available funds and align your strategy and programs in a way that allows you to take advantage of the available funds. Some of the funds require partnership with government institutions something that a strategic enterprise should be able to do. The government is the custodian of the policy and legislative framework, however, the implementation of policy such as the medium-term plan 3 lies with the technical experts who are mostly found within the private sector.
An enterprise needs to align itself and be ready to support the implementation of national plans. An example of the Climate Change section on the MTP 3 there is flagship projects that have been stated and will be the priority in mitigation and adaptation strategies. Kenya Climate Innovation Centre, Netfund are among the institutions that were named as institutions that would be flagship projects for the Vision 2030. Associating your institution with such institutions means the government would recognize you as contributing to the mitigation and adaptation strategies.
The big 4 agenda
Beyond climate change, the MTP 3 has overall focused on the Big 4 agenda which was the election promise of the Jubilee government. The Big 4 agenda includes; Universal health coverage, affordable housing, manufacturing, and food security. Aligning the priorities of your organization to touch directly or indirectly on any of the big 4 agenda would mean there will be a clear indication of your awareness on the countries development direction. The government through its various agencies like the Kenya National Investment Agency (KeNIA), KeInvest among others are bent towards availing funds to startups that contribute to the national agenda.
Having navigated through tough economic times as a country in the past two years, Kenya is steadily rising economically and providing opportunities for SMEs to tap into. As you seek to expand your customer base and support system, I would urge you to consider streamlining your strategy to make profits out of government’s development priorities.
By Sarah Makena