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Business leaders hail census results; Kenya’s population grows
Business leaders hail census results; Kenya’s population grows

Business leaders hail census results; Kenya’s population grows

RETAILER NEWS - Sep 26th, 11:10

The business community has welcomed the release of the census results earlier this month saying they will help them plan their business operations.

Business leaders who spoke to the Star said that the census statistics released by planning minister Wycliffe Oparanya are a comprehensive source of information about Kenya’s population. “The figures we have released are accurate and will assist in distribution of resources,” said the minister.

The chairman of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance Patrick Obath said that the census is important in the sense that it profiles the population in terms of age group and market. But he was quick to add that business owners will have to digest the statistics first before making concrete decisions.

“Let’s wait and see what expectations the government will give the private sector then we will be in a better position to devise strategies,” he said on telephone.

Atul Shah the CEO of Nakumatt Holdings said he is keen on the counties created under the new constitution that have got large populations to be able to know where to open the branches.

Retailers rely on human traffic to generate sales volumes.

The census results show that Kenya’s population has increased to over 38 million compared to an estimated in 28 million in 1999 when the last census was conducted. The large increase has both social and economic challenges.

Patricia Kingori the general manager for Samsung mobile phone division for East and Central Africa stated that the increase in population has positive results especially in Nairobi. “Nairobi is a primary growth area for businesses including mobile phone dealers,” she said.

She added that the census results will help Samsung expand its dealer network by focusing on areas that have high population density.

On his part, George Waititu the CEO of Synovate, a leading research firm said they have been eagerly waiting for the results. “Ninety nine per cent of sampling and statistics is guided by the census results. We cannot work without data.”

Businesses need data on the population to help them spot opportunities and potential markets. This helps to give them a competitive edge.

Dr Wahome Gakuru, an economist who was involved in formulating the Vision 2030, said the country has a very good human resource base. The census results will guide the country in moving toward competitiveness in the African market. This will help attract investors, he added.

Apart from South Africa, Kenya is the first country to release census results within the span of a year.

There have been concerns about delay in releasing the census results. One year has elapsed since the census exercise was conducted. Earlier this month, Oparanya officially made public the results at the KICC. Delays have been attributed to data analysis complexities.

The whole census exercise cost Sh8.4billion. The government funded 95 per cent of the total budget. The rest came from development partners.

Sylverio Okello, a member of the Business Premises Rent Tribunal, pointed out that the delay in releasing results won’t impact much on business, “So many people have been born, employed, retrenched and even died within the span of one year. Similarly, many businesses have been shut.”


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