Smooth presidential elections in Kenya, which saw Uhuru Kenyatta take 50.07% of the polls, have boosted the Kenyan markets, with Nairobi Securities Exchange’s All-Share Index rising for a ninth day in a row by 3.2% – the highest level in nearly four years. Investors did not appear to be shaken by Mr Kenyatta´s July hearing at the International Criminal Court in the Hague accused of fomenting the violence that followed the 2007 polls in which 1,000 people died and 600,000 were forced from their homes. Mr Kenyatta, 51, and vice president-elect William Ruto also accused, say they will fight to clear their names.
Mr Kenyatta has pledged to continue cooperation with the international community in his first speech as president – a move encouraging to investors. Throughout the poll process, the Kenyan mantra has been “amani” meaning “peace” – and it was to this desire, the new president directed his address in Nairobi. He said Kenyans were celebrating the “triumph of democracy, the triumph of peace, the triumph of nationhood”.
Voters, he said, had “demonstrated a level of political maturity that surpassed expectations”, and he called on Mr Odinga and other leaders to “join us in moving our nation forward”.
Kenya, the regional host for global multinationals including Google Inc., General Electric Co. (GE), Visa Inc. (V) and PepsiCo Inc. (PEP), is attracting increasing interest from foreign investors, who made half of all stock trades on the Nairobi Securities Exchange in 2012.
The International Monetary Fund, has estimated that Kenya’s economy may expand by as much as 6% percent this year, from an estimated 5% percent in 2012.
The presidential inauguration is scheduled for March 26, pending a decision from the Supreme Court on a petition to overturn the polls result by the defeated candidate, outgoing Prime Minister Raila
The president, a former finance minister and reported to be one of Kenya’s richest men according to Forbes magazine has pledged to boost economic growth to between 7% and 10% percent a year by 2015 as part of a plan to create a million jobs annually. He also intends to build a crude oil pipeline from South Sudan to Kenya´s coast, where a refinery will be built and a railway from Mombasa port to Malaba and double the amount of paved roads to 24,000 km.