the south africans cometh

They are all over Tanzania. Kenya’s southern neighbor is even a member of the SADC and currently suffers a huge trade deficit with South Africa. Now the sons and daughters of the Continent from south of the Limpopo are eying even greater penetration into the EAC via Uganda. President Zuma just visited Uganda with a delegation of businesspeople. Uganda’s oil sector was on top of the agenda.

I hope Kenyan businesspeople, and the political class, are watching. Competition from the South Africans is, of course, most welcome – companies like the East African Breweries certainly benefited from South African competition. That said, Kenya should not give up its role as the economic locomotive of East Africa. In particular, the government should ensure that Kenyan companies in the light manufacturing, retail and banking sectors remain competitive in the region. Investment in infrastructure – roads, the ports in Lamu and Mombasa, pipelines, power generation – should be prioritized. Nairobi must ensure that the Ugandans, Rwandans, Burundians and Southern Sudanese find it cheapest to export and import through Kenyan ports.