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Kenya as a services hub: The role of services in economic transformation

Time (GMT +01) 07:30 15:30


This workshop assessed the role of services in economic transformation and job creation in Kenya; followed by in depth discussions of two services sectors (IT enabled services, financial services). The workshop forms part of a project of ODI’s Supporting Economic Transformation Programme. The aims are to (i) examine Kenya as an example of services-led transformation (ii) examine what needs to be done to raise Kenya’s services sector to become a regional and global services hub; (iii) examine the costs and benefits of a services-led approach to economic transformation and employment vis-à-vis an agriculture or manufacturing-led approach.

Session 1: The role of services in economic transformation

The service sector is an important component of any country’s economy. It makes a direct and significant contribution to GDP and job creation, and provides crucial inputs (e.g. logistics, energy, financial or ICT services) for the rest of the economy, thus having a significant effect on the overall investment climate, which is an essential determinant of growth and development. Some service sectors such as the health, education, water and sanitation sectors are also directly relevant to achieving social development objectives. But which type of services can contribute to economic transformation and what are the links between services and economic transformation (defined as moving labour between sectors, improving factor productivity, and trade diversification).   What are the potential costs and benefits from focusing on services vis-à-vis agriculture and manufacturing? What can maximise the contribution of services to economic transformation and job creation.

11.30: Session 2: IT enabled services and economic transformation (with application to Kenya)

The IT enabled service sector (e.g. ITC) has transformed many countries around the world including India, but what is the record so far and potential in sub Saharan African countries? The session will discuss how the ITC sector contributes to economic transformation, what has been achieved so far in Kenya, what else needs to be done in Kenya to ensure a greater impact on transformation, and the lessons from India.

14.00 Session 3: Financial services and economic transformation (with application to Kenya)

Financial services can contribute to structural transformation as an enabler, as a service to households, and as a productive sector. Kenya has one of the fastest growing financial sectors in sub-Saharan Africa. The session will examine progress to date and barriers to further deepening of the financial sector as well as Kenya’s potential for a broader contribution to structural transformation as a regional financial centre and as an offshoring service centre for international financial services.

For further information and to RSVP please contact Leah Worrall at [email protected].

Intercontinental Nairobi