2017 will go down in the country’s history as one of the worst years for entrepreneurs. Characterized by cutthroat electioneering, potential investors in the country opted for a wait and see attitude. In addition, securing business was an uphill task, payments for jobs done were delayed beyond the normal credit period, while financiers were very strict while lending to businesses (especially the micro, small and medium enterprises). Businesses in virtually all sectors of the economy (including manufacturing, real estate, banking and agriculture) registered heavy losses and in the worst case scenario, some of them closed down.
Entrepreneurs who have successfully guided their businesses from the start-up stage to higher levels know that it is a daunting task. It takes them sleepless nights, a lot of energy, time as well as resources to do so. If for some reasons such a business collapses, the anguish that their founders go through is unimaginable. Few experiences can be that devastating. That we sacrifice businesses which we have painfully struggled to establish ( and which are sources of our livelihood) on the altar of endless politics is a senseless practice we must ponder hard about as Kenyans. Besides damaging our economy, it hurts the spirit of entrepreneurship which we glorify on a daily basis as the antidote of the unemployment crisis our highly educated and skilled youth have continued to grapple with.
Even the corporates were not spared by the uncertainty that was occasioned by the fireworks of the 2017 politics. As a matter of fact, some of them were forced to lay off a good number of employees in order to remain in business and safeguard their profitability. We are all waiting with bated breath the announcement of their annual results at the beginning of 2018 because if the current indicators are anything to go by, most of them shall register massive losses.
Nevertheless as they say, every cloud has a silver lining. The government has embarked on a growth agenda that is hinged on four pillars: security, affordable housing, manufacturing and inexpensive healthcare. This agenda has given a lot of hope to entrepreneurs as they usher in 2018. Holding all factors constant, we are optimistic that in the new year, our economy will recover as the high political tide ebbs.