Teaming with Kenya may undermine Cayman’s image

| 17/02/2010

(CNS): A number of concerns have already been raised in the business community that doing business with Kenya may not help with the Cayman Islands own image when it comes to global perceptions. Following the recent visit by the vice president of the east African nation, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, to Cayman and his invitation to the  local Chamber of Commerce  to send a delegation to Nairobi, some have questioned the wisdom of exploring trade with the country given that Kenya is considered one of the world’s most corrupt nations. (Photo courtesy of News 27)

While there are certainly some countries that are more corrupt than Kenya, it currently rates around 146th in the latest anti-corruption league table of the 180 countries surveyed. Research compiled by transparency.org, the World Bank, IMF, Freedom House and others all points to considerable problems for the country in both the public and private arenas.

Aside from the usual reasons why lesser developed nations are vulnerable to corruption, Kenya has its own special problems. Being a relatively stable nation bordering on some of the world’s most unstable countries, such as Somalia and Ethiopia and close neighbours with Congo, Kenya is even more susceptible because ofthe number of non governmental organisations, aid agencies, international firms and global corporations that use Nairobi, the country’s capital, as a base from which to direct their eastern and central African operations.

Musyoka came to the Cayman Islands last week as a guest of Pastor Al Ebanks, of Agape Family Life Centre, who met the African politician on a missionary trip to Kenya. During his visit Musyoka met not only with his fellow nationals living here in Cayman but with the governor, the speaker of the house and the premier. He also met with members from the Chamber of commerce.

“We met with the Chamber President and invited them to Kenya for a trade delegation in which they will explore the opportunities that will be brought about by the start of the East African community on July 1 this year,” Musyoka told the local press at a briefing held on his behalf by Pastor Ebanks. “Although Kenya and Cayman Islands are far apart, in the age of globalisation let distance not be prohibitive … businesses today know no borders,” he said.

The Kenyan VP also announced that he is going to meet with the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, the Kenya Private Sector Alliance and the Kenya Chamber of Commerce to explore avenues in which Kenyans should invest in the Cayman Islands.

A number of people in the local business community have raised concerns, however, that trading with a country such as Kenya may fuel the long standing international criticisms about Cayman’s status as a haven for less than legitimate earnings of the world’s corrupt governments.

While he was in Cayman, Musyoka highlighted some of problems his country and the east African region faced when he explained that Islamic insurgents had immigrated to Yemen now and were on route to neighbouring Somalia. He called on the world to notice the Somalian question to find solutions towards a stable government.

As a result of the instability from surrounding nations, Kenya provides a home to around 250,000 refugees and has recently had its own internally displaced persons problem as a result of the unrest that spread through the country in 2007 and early 2008. Musyoka is part of a Grand Coalition Government that was sworn in on April 17, 2008 with Mwai Kibaki from the Party of National Unity (PNU) as President and Raila Odinga from the Orange Democratic Party (ODM) as Prime Minister. The coalition was established under a National Accord and Reconciliation Agreement with an equally shared portfolio balance between PNU and ODM following a political crisis and violence that followed the announcement of the results of the presidential, parliamentary and local government electionsof December 28, 2007.

Musyoko is now part of the Orange Democratic Movement but he was formerly part of the Ruling Party KANU and served under the country’s last dictator, President Daniel arap Moi, who retired after 24 years in the position, finally ushering in multi-party democracy.  

See News 27 video of Musyoka

Also see latest Economist article

Category: Business

Comments (37)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I have no doybt that the kenyan government will milk away millions from the people of kenya to the cayman islands

  2. muc - raker too says:

    XXXX if there is anything to be learnt from the comments is just how proud the Kenyans are of their country and even when they have left their country, they want to help manage the image of a country that is corrupt and whose politics have ruined another once upon a team dream african country. I have visited Kenya and i now live here and can tell you that in times of trouble, like this country is experiencing, i think the government should be looking to improve our reputation and not align with those that as recent as two years ago had set their own bed on fire to flush out the errant mrs mind the pun,

    Cayman needs to continue managing her reputation and visits by african ministers does not paint a good picture, African leaders are notorious for stealing from their people and we certainly do not want any blood money invested in this economy.

    for the kenyans on island, yes love the motherland, but all this reference of how great you are is nonsense, thats why most of you are out here, economic reason. nah? economic refugees nah?

    also when one asks you about your reputation, is it fair for you to start dragging your friends and neighbours who are not there to defend themselves? we do not live in Kenya, but last i was there, Corruption, human rights abuses, poverty, crime, disease you name it plagued that country

    the only thing we can learn from una is how can we get our long distance runners to run like you, instead of sending pastor Al to meet the Kenyans we should have sent the sports minister….that is better value

    XXXXXXX

    Asante sana

  3. Anonymous says:

    "Let those who have not sinned cast the first stone"..John 8:7.  were comments made by Jesus of Nazareth to persons intent on stoning the supposedly promiscuous lady.

    It is appreciated the way various channels covered the visit of a foreign leader. In the global world of interconnected destinies, it is critical that people work together to share and achieve the common good. It is no longer possible or advisable to ignore or dismiss another group of people..even from as far as the fabled Outer Mongolia… There is little direct relationship between Cayman and Kenya. indeed there is even no diplomatic relationship. But because of the realization from the Kenyan side – correctly- that we can no longer ignore one another, the VP came over. The leaders of Cayman noted – again correctly – that such benefits are mutually and bilaterally beneficial and hosted him.  Only for wanton criticism to follow.

    We learn from one another. As the VP stated, his delegation learnt much from Cayman. Which is good. Am sure there are things Cayman can learn from Kenya, a peaceful country (usually) despite being at the epicenter of a war torn region. The country is economically stable despite various challenges and is a global leader in production of tea, coffee, and the first country to initiate Mobile Phone money transfers- not currently in Cayman. Two of its businessmen are currently ranked top 50 business leaders on Earth..The tourism industry there is worth more than 1.5 billion dollars annually. The corruption ranking is there. They have accepted it and are trying to fight it. We may never know where Cayman or any other non independent country is ranked since the report only ranks the sovereign countries..hence it is unfair to judge the Kenyans. They have accepted the state of things, realized it is not good, and have gone ahead to deal with them. This is the hallmark of a maturing Nation. Kenya has hosted various world leaders, inlcuding the leaders of China, USA, UK, IRAN..etc; leaders who have realized that however different, we have to work together towards the common good of improving the quality of life in this world and that we have to do it together.

    Hence i would encourage that we in Cayman look at these visits with an open mind and acceptance because we are all a people and our common purpose should be forthe good of all of us. Let the initial reaction not be of rejection but acceptance. Let the default be i like you as a fellow human being unless you prove otherwise. These are the true human principles.

     

     

     

     

  4. Anonymous says:

    What Economist had to say about Kenya

    Kenya is resilient. After the disruption and loss of tourist earnings as a result of the violence, its economy has clawed its way back, with growth of 2% last year and 3% expected in 2010. Kenya’s younger generation, the country’s burgeoning professional middle class, its vibrant media and its entrepreneurs, all still the punchiest in the region, are impatient with the politics of the past. Moreover, most Kenyans do cherish the freedoms uncorked by the multiparty system after 1991, despite the ferocity and messiness of tribal politics. Besides, though in terms of income per head Kenya is less far ahead of its neighbours than it was, it remains unchallenged as the commercial and diplomatic hub of the wider east African region. When international troubleshooters try to grapple with Somalia, southern Sudan, northern Uganda or the turbulent eastern region of Congo-cum-Rwanda, it is in Nairobi that they invariably gather

    • Dr Kananga says:

      Hmm …… nothing about the indiscriminate bombings in Kenya which included the US embassy and the 1500 people who were killed during the recent election!

       

  5. Anonymous says:

    to all those saying that kenya is corrupt….look at your own backyard.  Cayman’s leaders and its business people are filthy corrupt!

    • Greeting and salutations, Sir says:

      Duh! We know that. That’s why it’s so obviously a bad idea for our politicians to start creeping around with Kenya’s politicians.

      To be clear, no one is saying that the Kenyan people are all corrupt and unstrustworthy. In general, Kenyans are great people. It’s only their politicians that are the stuff of nightmares. If you doubt this, just ask a Kenyan!

    • Anonymous says:

      What image? I think it’s a little late to worry about Cayman’s image! Mckeeva Bush & the last nine months have taken care of any positive image we had. Our image is totally negative now.

  6. Greeting and salutations, Sir says:

    Dear Pastor Al and McKeeva Bush,

    I believe in Baby Jesus and know that the Bible is 100 % true. I also have a million dollars that I would like to share with you. Please send me the CI Government’s bank account number and I promise I will deposit the money for you promptly.

    Thank you and God bless both of you wise men,

    Lord Byron Boit, esquire

     

  7. Give me Moi money! says:

    Kenya’s government doesn’t seem to have a shining reputation:

    http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2009/cpi_2009_table

     

    Why aren’t we seeking out business arrangements with the countries up near the top of this ranking, rather than the bottom?

    Yo, McKeeva. You should check out the fellas in Nigeria too. They got some sweet internet businesses ventures there you may want to get in on. They’re raking in millions with very little overhead, I hear.

    • Eminent Barrister of Law says:

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      Professor of important Law,

      Lagos University.

      • Riches here I come says:

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        My bank acount #0123456 and please find attached a copy of my passport, bank statement, drivers license and credit card statement.  I have enclosed the extra documents as I don’t want to miss out on such a fantastic deal.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Just a quick line.

    First I commend the News Channel for highlighting the visit of the Kenyan VP to the Cayman Islands. Well done.

    Secondly, it is not a good thing to react to some matter before doing a background check on the matter. One needs to listen carefully to the VPs remarks. Would people be right to say that Cayman Islands is a place where all corrupt people stash away their ill gotten money? The VP says that it has been proven otherwise. However, this is the perception of Cayman Islands to most parts of the world. If we rely on reports on face value we will absolutely miss the point.

    Hon Musyoka is one of the African leaders whose name has never been mentioned in any scandal or corruption. He stands for good governance, justice, righteousness and the rule of law, which includes, ZERO tolerance to corruption.

    Kenya, a former British colony has set up several institutions e.g the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission, that is involved in vigourously fighting corruption. Having said that, it is still important to note that corruption comes in various forms and shapes and each country in the world has a trace of it. However, the Kenyan Government is making all important efforts to deal squarely with the matter.

    The opportunities for business are enormous. The British having lived in Kenya even before independence, have some significant interests which make Kenya, like the Cayman Islands a treasure for Britain not to mention other countries that have significant investments in Kenya like the USA, China, India and many other nations.

    In conclusion, it is only fair for people to coperate and help each other and learn from each other. Even if one is the richest man or woman in the world, he or she will need a friend one day or the other. No man can stand alone. We need to encourage each other and teach each other to make the world a better place for all of us.

  9. Agast-e says:

    Someone should let Pastor Al know that they have gays in Kenya.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hey "Agast-e", don’t worry, Pastor Al knows there are gays in Kenya. That’s why he wants to help them with their constution. He hopes to help them craft theirs like he did ours so that basic human rights are squeezed out of it and restricted to near meaningless levels.

      He will advise them that it’s necessary to sacrifice a real bill of rights in the constitution in order to protect Kenya from the hordes of gays who want to force Christians to listen to Barbra Streisand music or whatever.

      Don’t laugh, it worked in Cayman.

  10. Richard Wadd says:

     Pastor Al should concentrate on his ‘Flock’ before he sets off to watch another man’s sheep.

     "Lie with dog, you will catch fleas", and "Show me your company, I tell you who you are".

     Take it in whatever sense you will (I don’t really care), but we need to look after our own problems at home FIRST, and distance ourselves from countries that have questionable (okay, Blatant) Social, Business and Political practices. 

     With reputable Countries such as New Zealand and Ireland actively hunting our Business, the Govt. needs to concentrate on fixing and re-building our image, and economy.

    Kenya also ranks 146 out of 180 on the Worldwide Corruption Perceptions Index 

     It’s not about racism, it’s about ‘Protectionism’. Get the point?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hi,

     Just a quick rejoinder regarding your assertions here:

    Kenya is today one of the largest economies in Africa. To focus on the social vice -corruption- as the only stand alone feature about the country is to be unfortunately skewed and biased.

    Indeed the world’s largest economies and numerous fortune 500 companies are big investors in the Kenyan economy eg Barclays Plc, Standard Chartered bank, Pfizer, General Motors, vodafone, to name but are few a doing souring business in this nation of 40million people.

    Today the Kenyan government and its multilateral donors are spending billions of shillings in infrastructure.

    In July this year, Kenya and its neighbours will officially become an economic union with free movement of goods and services and labour giving business access to over 150m people.

    The world’s economy is globalised and indeed companies registered in Cayman are already investing in African markets. As a matter of fact, one of the largest shareholders of a local Kenyan bank is a fund registered right here in the Cayman Islands.

    There is a general agreement that today Africa and the rest of the developing world offers the highest growth potential to the world’s economy. Cayman can only ignore this growth to its own peril. Yes today Kenya has an uncomfortable level of corruption, but we don’t know what tomorrow portends.

    Instead of bashing pastor Al for bringing an avenue of growth into a new sector, shouldn’t Caymanians and local businessmen ask themselves, how they can get higher returns per dollar invested  in an ethical way from the next big developmental frontier of the worlds economy?.

    Just a few notes for you to ponder:

    Kenya’s stock exchange had the highest rate of return in the world in the year 2006.=equity funds pls note.

    It’s projected that the demand for housing exceeds the available houses at least in the ratio of 3:1= contractors pls note

    Kenya is currently seeking private-public partnerships to build roads and a railway line on a concessionary basis, worth over $2billion dollars= money market hedge funds pls note

    Kenya has been issuing infrastructure bonds on the local market in the Nairobi Stock Exchange since 2009.and each time, this bonds have been oversubscribed to the rate of 3:1= money market hedge funds pls note.

    Kenya has never defaulted on its sovereign debt and indeed is issuing a sovereign bond in the months to come=money market hedge funds pls note

    In closing;

    The best investors are those who follow value as Warren Buffet has said on numerous occasions- and been proven right over and over. Local businesses and fund managers should see through this hyped up corruption and will notice the enormous potential that Kenya promises to its investors.

     

  12. Baya 4 life says:

    not a great idea for the image of Cayman.  but then again, we are known as a tax haven so this is just as bad.

  13. Anonymous says:

    oh no , did someone get an e-mail telling them they had a cheque waiting for them for $1 million  and they just needed the CI bank details and to book a room for some business associates???

    i remember years ago one of the Adam Bros. warning that what happened in the movie Last King of Scotland could happen here, I thought that was a bit of an over reaction , however now, I see it may have been very prophetic!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Good concerns,

    The Idea is to explore opportunities for business. Every smart investor knows that there are opportunities  where others see threats.

    Kenya hosts the largest US Embassy in Africa. Nairobi has the largest United Nations Office in Africa. Britain and the rest of Europe do business with Kenya. The USA has been a big business partner with the country for a long time. To what extend has doing business with Kenya undermined US and UK’s image?

    Attempted robbery in one the CI bank’s branches does NOT make all branches of the bank unsafe; neither does it mean that people should stop doing busines with and in the bank.

    Go to Kenya for the field work – on a fact finding mission and let us review the report then.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, yeah, unna just a bunch of haters. So what if our government is going to have a close relationship with an African government that has long been plagued by corruption? What could possibly go wrong?

    Worst of all, Pastor Al says he’s going to advise the Kenyan government on their constitutional process. Isn’t that sweet? After he led the charge to produce the pathetic, embarrassing, and dangerously inadequate constitution Cayman is now stuck with, he is going to do his best to burden another nation with a backward anti-human rights doument.

    He’s like our very own international caped-crusader, fighting for religious bigotry wherever it is threatened by the dark forces of equality and progress.

    "Faster than a speeding human rights activist.
    More powerful than a logical argument.
    Able to leap tall human progress in a single bound.
    Look! Up in the sky!
    It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s Pastor Al!"

     

     

  16. Anonymous says:

    I think the heading of this article is back to front. I think it should read:

    "Teaming with Cayman may undermine Kenya’s image"

  17. Anonymous says:

    This is the perfect excuse for Mac to take family and cronies on that African safari he has been dreaming of, all at our expense of course. Next there will be some excuse for why it is necessary to go to South Africa to ride the Blue Train, and to Egypt to see the Nile. There is no other reason why such things would even be considered by any sane politician. 

    • anonymous says:

      Can someone explain exactly what kind of business  is being proposed for business with Kenya? I havn’t heard that. What resources do they have that we need? What is Kenya’s relationship with Nigeria the Head quarters of all Internet Fraud, I hope they don’t have eyes on the money inour banks, could Nigeria be using kenya as a front to get to our bank accounts because the name Nigeria is a "stench": in the nostrils of the whole world. they send emails every day demanding your personal information, promising a big pay out to you as a beneficiary, because their socalled loved one has just died and he left such a big fortune behind ! then if Africa is so poor then why in thehell don’t they keep this money for themselves ? They are scam artists. I’m not judging Pastor Al, nor the man from Kenya, do I understaned he is a christian? whatever the case may be, This is a new thing that has sprung on the people and Caymanians deserve a detailed explation of all plans and association with this nation. 

  18. Anonymous says:

     This is a bad idea all the way around.

    1) Will help destroy Cayman’s "law abiding" image.

    2) No benefits to the Cayman Community; business, financial or otherwise

    3) Terrorist money!  Do you really want that Cayman, do you really want to be in the spotlight during the next terrorist attack in the world?

    Dumb, just plain dumb idea.  Whose bright idea was this anyway?  Oh yea, the church’s idea… I forgot, they don’t live in my real world.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Behold, MacChavez’s banana republic vision begins!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Kenya is a desperately corrupt country which we should be holding at arms’ length but of course because the connection was made through Pastor Al and his God botherers everything must be wonderful. When oh when will we stop these bloody ministers from having such a political role in our country. They should stick to helping those who believe in the same stuff as they do and/or taking some of the burden off Government for the social needs of the elderly and others. It’s sickening how naive they are.

    • Anon says:

      I am sure Pastor Al will meet his Waterloo with this, eh?

    • Anonymous says:

      Kenya desperately corrupt?  yes because Transparency International can have an office in the second floor of Bishop Garden Towers in the Upper Hill luxurious area in the central business district. Offcourse Transparency International cannot have offices in Lawless South Sudan, Somali, Afghanistan, or even Congo,  where they shoot to kill mountain gorillas for fun. No wonder they have better ranks than Kenya. I remember that western experts would refer to Nairobi as a hardship area where they have to go through road blocks that police extort money. Indeed Kenya is desperately corrupt if at all this is the perception you have. If you do not know about Kenya ask Kenyans they will tell you more about Kenya.

  21. Blasphemizin' says:

    Let’s see, McKeeva Bush in bed with an African nation that has long struggled with corruption. Hmmmm, nothing could possibly go wrong here. 

     

  22. Alex says:

    Is that a rule in politics all over the world? Church leaders getting involved in politics? I do beleive that Church is not one of the four powers that control modern societies.

    If a VP of any country visit another one in a personal visit there is nothing wrong on getting in touch with the leaders (not officially) but making bussines??? I do not think so. When you do not choose (as a goverment) who comes to your country mistakes happens.

    People are concern about the actual result of the conversations between Local leaders and the VP from Kenya and they are right. No church member should put the goverment in that position, there was no intentions of the Cayman Island leaders to talk to Kenya VP, so what give you the right to invited such a high rank person and force your goverment to talk to them. ( once the person is here there is no other option).

    To much influence of the church nowdays, not good at all.

     

  23. A Noni Mouse says:

    I’m afraid I would have to agree. Kenya has a terrbile reputation with regards to corruption and I’m not sure it would be in the Cayman Island’s best interests to associate with such a country. Furthermore, there is really no telling how far this corruption extends… the Cayman Islands may find themselves the victims of unscrupulous dealings, or may find itself being unduly influenced by corrupted persons.

  24. anonymous says:

    Good God, what’s everyone so upset about???  It was a brilliant move by Pasture Al.  Unlike others, Pasture Al has the foresight (after all, he talks to Jesus every day) to see that all legitimate and quasi legitimate businesses are leaving Cayman.  Who to replace them???  Well, that’s where Pasture Al’s brilliancy outshines everyone else’s…Pasture Al has taken care of that.  First he’ll forge business relations with Kenya, next Zimbabwe, then Nigeria, then Somalia, etc.  Soon thereafter, he’ll be holding the first Caribbean Human Rights Conference with Libya, Iran, Venezuela, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, etc. as co-chairs.     

  25. anonymous says:

    Good one Pastor Al – you sould be proud of yourself!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Al, you’re a decent man. Many of us who think you and Sykes and Stanwyck and Winston Rose and the rest are totally befuddled with religious claptrap nonetheless respect you. But, dear God, did you not research this man/Kenya? Just because you hear the word "God" doesn”t mean you leave your common sense in your church office! Idi Amin frequently invoked your same God as he decapitated and disembowelled his opponents in a corrupt regime like Kenya’s. You’re embarrassing us Al-making us look like simpletons.