Kenya recently reclaimed its title as the largest economy in Eastern and Central Africa; a position previously held by Ethiopia. The government has made various political, structural and economic reforms that have greatly contributed to Kenya’s economic growth, social development and political gains over the past decade. According to a report by the World Bank, Kenya’s economic growth has averaged at 5.7%, placing Kenya as one of the fastest growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. In this article, we’ll look at some of the fastest growing industries in Kenya today.


The agricultural sector plays a vital role in contributing to the growth of Kenya’s economy. The industry has made a 26% contribution to the GDP and another 27% indirectly through its collaboration with other sectors. The industry has created employment opportunities for many Kenyans and is a source of livelihood for up to 40% of Kenyans. The industry also accounts for up to 65% of the export earnings. Agriculture is also the main driver of the non-agricultural economy. The industry provides raw materials and markets for non-agricultural operations such as construction, transportation, tourism and education.


Kenya is nicknamed the “Silicon Savannah” because it is regarded as the second-best innovation hub in Sub-Saharan Africa. Technological advances are playing a key role in ushering in a new automated age. Kenya has seen vast developments in the fields of robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

Technological developments have changed the way in which Kenya interacts with the global economy. Kenya is now able to produce a higher quality of  products at an expansive rate, which has greatly boosted its trading prospects. Advancement in Information and Communications Technology has led to significant economic growth which in turn expanded the creation of job opportunities.


The tourism industry is one of the fastest growing industries in Kenya. According to the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, Kenya is currently the third largest tourism economy in Sub-Saharan Africa after South Africa and Nigeria. In 2019, the industry contributed a total of Ksh163.6 billion to Kenya’s GDP.  The tourism industry has also created an estimated 1.1 million jobs for the Kenyan people which in turn leads to economic growth as the government earns revenue through taxes. More recently, Najib Balala, Kenya’s Minister for tourism named the famed supermodel Naomi Campbell as Kenya’s new tourism advisor. This move will definitely boost Kenya’s tourism sector and increase international visits to Kenya.


The past two decades have seen an exponential increase in the Kenyan real estate market. This growth has been driven by various infrastructural developments such as improved roads and the upgrading of key airports as well as improved utility connections. Rapid urbanisation and a steady population growth have also contributed to the booming real estate sector. The influx of people moving in to the cities from rural areas has led to the building and selling of various land titles and properties. The fact that land appreciates in value over time has made the real estate business very lucrative with more and more people investing in land and property. 


The development of various infrastructure and the steady growth of Kenya’s economy has also led to the rapid development of the transport sector. According to Kenya’s transport sector profile, the sector grew by 8.8% in 2016 compared to 7.1% in 2015. Of course Kenya still has some way to go in the transport sector however the growth and development is on an upward slope and is only getting better. In a bid to stay in line with its Vision 2 030 goals, Kenya’s development plans include significant improvements to roads, railways, seaports and airports in order to compete in the global market. The construction of the SGR has opened up Kenya’s interior and has vastly increased and improved trading activities within the country.


Sustainability refers to the practice of meeting the needs and demands of people today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs as well. It is the balancing of various social, environmental and economic factors in a manner that is optimal for the preservation of current and future generations. Now more than ever, sustainability is one of the most urgent topical issues in the world.

Owing to the fact that since the Industrial Revolution, most companies/corporations have played a massive role in the degradation of the environment, organisations can no longer afford to ignore this fact. In this article we’ll look at various ways in which companies can become more sustainable especially through their HR departments.


Ensure that sustainability is a key part of your company’s goals. This should also be reflected in your recruitment process in order to ensure that your employees work together towards achieving this common goal. For instance, discuss your sustainability goals during interviews in order to let future employees know what you stand for.


Clearly set out the ways in which your company’s sustainability goals are going to impact the society and the environment and let your staff know the roles they can play in achieving these goals. You can speak to your suppliers about sustainable sourcing or find suppliers that are in alignment with your sustainability goals.


Allow your employees to join company volunteer programs. They can also take time off to support charities, and to nominate charities or causes your company can support. You could have an end of year company tradition where you donate to specific charities at the end of the year and have your employees visit these charities.


Human Resource departments are charged with handling the affairs of the organisations culture. HR is able to provide data that allows company heads to see how the existing culture aligns with the company’s strategy as well as the progress being made in regard to the implementation of these strategies. A prime example of a sustainable cultural strategy is the training of company heads to properly communicate with their employees’ regarding work-life conflicts. This means providing suitable working conditions and being mindful to the needs of employees such as their health and their relationships with their co-workers.


In a bid to promote sustainability, it is important to give your employees from every level the opportunity to communicate their ideas to their managers. Employee participation creates the conditions for a fruitful social dialogue between the employer and employees. Employee participation increases overall job satisfaction and improves employee loyalty to your company. This in turn means that your company can save up on the costs of recruitment, hiring and training of new employees.


One of the ways to achieve sustainability as a company is to train and equip your employees with skills that will benefit the future needs of your company. The business environment is constantly evolving and the need for newer skills is constantly arising in companies. In order to promote sustainability within your company consider sustainably developing your employees. This is can be done through the long-term orientation of your employees by equipping them with the necessary skills that will benefit your company’s future needs.  


Review all your processes and work practices to ensure that they are in line with your sustainability goals. Address any areas that are not up to par and develop a code of ethics you would like your company to adhere to. Remember to re-evaluate and adjust your goals in order to keep up with the ever changing societal issues.

Many companies are switching to more sustainable workplace practices in order to keep up with the current global sustainability demands. Implementing a few of these tools is a great way to positively impact your organisation and society as a whole.

Business laws among other regulatory measures help to protect economic growth and to shield consumers from exploitation and other illegal factors. Before establishing or when in the process of running a business, it is important to understand the legal factors affecting your business. In this article we’ll look at some of the ways various laws influence a business and the general business environment.

Legal factors are simply the factors that affect a business and its dealings in relation to governmental/state laws. These laws play a huge role in determining the success of a business as they regulate the relationship between employers and employees, profit margins, taxes and many more.


The government has passed laws to protect the interest of employees. These laws protect them against discrimination on the basis of their race, religion, sex, age, or colour. Our labour laws can be found in the Employment Act.

These laws play a key role in protecting employees from unfair termination and exploitation. For instance, it is illegal for a business to dismiss employees for joining trade unions or for expecting a baby. Ignoring these legal factors will result in serious repercussions for your business. In this case, before the dismissal of any worker, there must to be prior notice with proper reasons outlined otherwise, the case may be treated as an unfair dismissal.


The government has put in place various contracting rules, regulations and procedures that dictates the manner in which they conduct their dealings with businesses. The government encourages small businesses to participate in expressing interest when it purchases products and services. It also goes to great lengths to invest in outreach programs to find reliable, qualified small businesses to be its suppliers.


In a perfect world, all businesses would act in the best interest of their customers. Unfortunately, this is not the case. For this reason, the government has put in place various laws to protect consumers. The Sale of Goods Act is a perfect example of this. This Act focuses on the rights and responsibilities of merchants and customers when exchanging legal tenders and goods. It is essential for retailers, whole sellers and businesses involved in the exchange of goods be familiar with its terms.


Any business that is organized as a legal entity is subject to the state law that governs its operation and conduct. In a previous post we discussed the various forms of business entities.  For example, corporations, limited partnerships, partnerships and limited liability partnerships all of which have different legal status and liabilities. It is important to understand your business association in order to know what laws apply to you. This helps prevent various illegalities and protects your business as a whole.


Contract law is the law that governs the relationship between two or more individuals who enter in to an agreement (contract) which creates mutual obligations that are enforceable by the law. With this law, business can contract with individuals and both party’s rights are protected without one taking advantage of the other. Contract law also spells out the components of a contract and what would be either legal or illegal and the elements that would void a contract. Fraud, illegality and misrepresentation are all elements that would make a contract void and therefore not enforceable.

Consultants and Part-time Employees

As companies try to streamline operations and increase their profits, many human resource professionals are now looking at employees in a different light. Aside from trying to find the right candidate for a job, they are looking at ways they can cut costs while still maintaining quality services in order to maximise company profits. The amount of money spent looking for, hiring, paying and training new employees is analysed and used to help determine the companies’ profits and losses.

As businesses look for new avenues to reduce overall costs, human resource management has evolved to include different types of employment, like part-time employees and consultants. Particularly in light of the recent pandemic and the economic decline, trends towards lower cost employment have grown increasingly common.

Part-Time Employees

Part-time employees, also known as casual employees who work thirty-five or fewer hours per week. In addition to working fewer hours, part-time employees don’t usually qualify for benefits such as health insurance or paid vacation.


To begin with, the benefit of using part-time employees is mainly that the cost per employee for hiring, orientation, and training is less than for full-time workers. This then enables the company to save on these costs and maximise on profits in the long run.

Another benefit of employees that work fewer hours is that employers can be more flexible with scheduling. If a position requires long hours to fill, hiring two part-time people can make scheduling easier than with one full-time employee. It also helps avoid overtime or time and a half, thereby reducing overhead for an employer.

In addition, part-time employees bring diversity to the workplace. This is especially true for workplaces that are maybe looking to increase the number of women professionals. This also has the added benefit of showing your clients and potential customers that you value diversity in your workplace.


There are few downsides to hiring part-time employees. With part-time employees, there is the risk that they may not be as committed to your company goals and work standards as they are not permanent employees and not feel like they owe your company loyalty.

Hiring part-time workers may lead to inconsistencies in work performance. This is because they may come in and pick-up where on employee left off and the quality of work may differ.

Due to the fact that part-time employees are not around as much or for consistent periods time, they have less contact and interactions with the permanent employees. This may result in full-time employees feeling uncomfortable around pert-time employees.


Consultants are hired for a specific positions or tasks and consider the companies they provide their services to, as clients. Consultants are not official company employees. They often have more than one client to which they offer similar services, and are therefore specialists. As consultants aren’t employees, companies don’t have to offer them benefits.


Hiring consultants saves companies money. Although companies pay consultants more per hour in the long run it actually costs more to hire, train and retain new employees.

Hiring consultants also has a long list of legal benefits, as independent consultants are not protected by the rights available to employees. For instance, consultants do not have the right to unionise. In addition, employees have the right to sue their employers for wrongful termination. Consultants cannot bring these types of suits before the court as they are bound by the terms agreed on in their consultants.


Independent consultants are difficult to secure due to their scarcity and overly booked schedules. It can take a while to get one booked and it can be difficult to get the same person to do another job for your company. This can then result in inconsistencies in the work done.

Due to the fact that consultants are not employees, they are consultants by numerous companies some of which may be your competitors.


5-4-3-2-1: Don’t think

Borne out of the need to preserve life, fear was once necessary. Now more often than not, it hinders your progress. When it becomes detrimental we call it anxiety. If you compound your values and belief systems and somehow generate the ideal version of yourself – the steps you need to take to become that person are clear. The steps are usually a mix of small changes like eating healthier and big changes like leaving your job. Yet sometimes, these challenges seem insurmountable. Worst case scenarios cloud your mind – once again waging a war between who you are and who you want to be.

Here’s an insanely simple trick to bypass these instincts for self-preservation. When facing a challenge you deem necessary for achieving your goals, start a 5 second countdown. Focus on the numbers rather than why you shouldn’t or can’t make the change. Countdowns prepare us for a necessary – almost mandatory action. We use them to launch rockets, start races, cross the new year etc. Why wouldn’t they work for you!

Can’t or Won’t: Make it a priority

There’s something you assume you’re notoriously bad at. Something you seem to always struggle with. Here’s a simple truth – you’re bad at it because you’re not interested in getting better at it. There’s always going to be more things you’re bad at than things your good at. Therefore, improving in something is a matter of priority. Narrowing down the things you need to learn dramatically decreases the fear of the things you don’t know. So instead of hilariously being terrible with names or birthdays or whatever you struggle with – recognise that you’ve not made them a priority. You can but you won’t.

The Millennial Question

Termed appropriately to reflect a common struggle within younger generations – the millennial question describes a lack of patience. The desire to see instant results in actions we’ve taken is relatable – no matter who you talk to. Our brains are notoriously wired to only show us what achieving our goals and desires means for our lifestyle. We strive to leave impactful change in our wake. What we don’t see is the difficult path to who we want to be. These achievements won’t happen as easy or as fast as we want. Practicing patience and repetition are a sure way to stay on the road to success. One sit-up doesn’t make you a body builder but thousands, over a good period of time will. Take the necessary actions but don’t expect instant results. You might not see the progress you’ve made but in time you will.

Leading not lagging

Focus on designing leading goals rather than lagging ones. Here is the distinction – leading goals are within your sphere of control and are things you can influence. For instance – how long will you read each day, what time will you wake up, what will you avoid eating. Whereas lagging goals are those whose outcome you cannot guarantee. For example how much money you’ll make, how much your business will grow and where you’ll be in 3 months. If you’ve not spotted it yet, leading goals focus on the process for achieving your ultimate goal whereas lagging goals solely focus on the outcomes of your ultimate goal.

Locked in:

Lastly, do it today not tomorrow. A recurring myth we all face and know to be false is the one where tomorrow you’ll be the version of yourself that achieves your hopes and dreams. Only for tomorrow to come and your ideal self is still a day away. To defeat this fallacy, start by recognising the only version of yourself that exists or will ever exist is the one now! Only you can do what you want to do. Progress is made with action AND time. You’ll still be the same version of yourself 6 hours, 12 hours, and 365 days from now unless you incorporate action. Next time ask yourself – what is so different about tomorrow that I’ll suddenly achieve my dreams? If time is your only answer – you know what you need to do!


Over the years, Kenya has proven to be a country thriving with economic success. Numerous Kenyan companies started from the ground up have achieved massive success in the East African economy and even Africa as a whole. One such company is the Bidco Africa Ltd. Bidco is East Africa’s leading manufacturer of Fast Moving Consumer Goods. Started in 1985 and it has continuously grown over the years to be the home of some of East Africa’s most loved brands across the edible oils and fats, hygiene and personal care, and most recently food and beverage brands.

Bidco Africa has won over 30 awards and recognitions in the last thirty-two years and is an acknowledged leader in the East African Manufacturing sector. Bidco was the first company to establish a fully operational refinery in East Africa. It was established in 1970 as a garment manufacturer in Nyeri, Kenya. In 1985, the former chairman, Mr Bhimji Depar Shah and his two sons Vimal Shah and Tarun Shah saw a growing need in the African market for soap products. They relocated to Nairobi, and set up a soap manufacturing plant. Bidco only produced three soap products; Kuku, Sabasaba and White Star.

In 1991, Bidco set up a state of the art refinery in Thika. The growth and expansion continued by Bidco acquiring various brands from other companies such as Elianto from Unga Group in 1994 and Kimbo and Cowboy from Unilever in 2002. After a rocky start, overcoming challenges with distribution and marketing, Bidco managed to break into the market and became the success they are today.

In 2013, Bidco reported an annual turnover of more that USD 500 million. In the same year, Vimal Shah was ranked as the richest man in East Africa by Forbes with a net worth of USD 1.6 billion.

Here’s how you can achieve your own success:


Bidco was started by a family and believes that all employees and partners are a part of that family; the Bidco Family. They believe in Africa, which can be seen in their commitment to using local raw materials and making quality products that are affordable to all, regardless of their income. The company truly believes in their products, ensuring their quality and safety. They also work towards promoting a sustainable business practice with the elimination of waste, recycling and use of renewable energy.

In addition to this, Vimal Shah truly believes in being motivated by the desire to grow and improve the communities around him. He speaks against using money as a key motivator in his business and believes in empowering those around him to succeed.

“Money motivates you for a certain time, but when your basic needs are met it doesn’t motivate you anymore. My biggest inspiration today is to arouse the leader inside every other human being. I want them to know that they too can achieve their dreams. I was born here. I went to school here. Even for university I did not go to Harvard, I studied here. You too can do it.”

-Vimal Shah

If you’re looking to start a business venture, ensure that your business is in alignment with your personal goals, and vision. Let it be reflected in the way you interact with both your customers and employees. Of course when starting a business one of the main goals is to turn a profit and earn decent money however, this shouldn’t be your only motivator.


Bidco’s brands are designed to enhance the quality of daily life. Their purpose is to promote a Happy Healthy Living through spreading the goodness of mother-nature in all homes. The message is communicated via extensive advertising & media campaigns including strategically located billboards, promotions and special events. In addition to mainstream media and advertising, Bidco believes in being a Socially Responsible Corporation. This is the goal that informs the company’s focus on aiming at sustainability. This has been done through social investments in education, engagement with farmers and activities aimed at environmental conservation as well.  The company also works on a system aimed at producing zero waste.

Market your business. Let people know what you’re working on. Use the resources available to you such as social media, newspaper ads and if you can buy some airtime on local T.V and radio stations to promote your business.


When trying to build your business, you may come across sceptics and naysayers. Always have your goals in mind and focus on the big picture. “If you come with something new today they will give you 100 reasons why it won’t grow. That is why your own conviction is so important. Look at the best case scenario and the worst case scenario. Be persistent, never give up,”


Work with what you have and make the most out of your situation. Starting small allows you to learn the basics and teaches you how to manage your resources. You will also be able to lay down a strong foundation for when your business takes off and begins to grow. Starting small is necessary to build the required character traits to handle growth and success. There is truly no such thing as an overnight success. Most times, when we see someone take off and achieve massive success, it is because they have spent years behind the scenes refining their craft and building their business i.e. putting in their 10,000 hours. Shah’s advice is “start small, aim big and keep at it.”


Hire people that have the Same visions and goals as you in order to ensure that your company thrives. Hiring the right employees for your business is important no matter what kind of work you’re doing. Having quality employees will help your company run and grow. Vimal says; “The best thing about competency is that you can build it by employing people who have the skills to deliver what you need. And the concept of outsourcing manpower has made it easier to acquire competency in business.”

Also see:


Vimal Shah: How to become a successful entrepreneur

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