Twelve months ago – almost to the day – President Kenyatta announced that Kenya's economic growth would reach an impressive 6.9% in 2020. It seemed realistic too: The President's ‘Big Four' agenda was bearing early fruit, SMEs were flourishing and even tourism far outpaced regional averages.
But a year on, as Kenya faces the same economic uncertainty as the rest of the world in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, that growth path is looking rocky. Under these circumstances it is all too easy to lose sight of the progress and development that has taken place: but this is no time for Kenya to lose its ambition.
Unlike Africa's major petro-states like Angola and Nigeria, Kenya's fortunes have never been so dependent the boom and bust of oil exports. But with more than 100 years of history to draw on, its wider oil and energy sector knows how to think long-term. Today, one of the brightest lights in this space is Asharami Synergy Kenya which has been steadily and confidently building its presence across Kenya's oil market since 2018.
In the last year and 11 months, Asharami Synergy Keyna has successfully imported more than 1.1. billion litres of oil products that have arrived in Kenya and demonstrate the important role that a strong energy sector can play in empowering a diverse, robust economy. Asharami Synergy Kenya's contribution amounts to an investment of almost $350million USD and sets an ambitious pace not only for the company's plans for Kenya but for the role that the energy sector can play in supporting Kenya during this challenging time.
Because while oil exports in Kenya might be in an embryonic state, the oil sector can still take credit for playing a role as the backbone of the economy. Indirectly, the oil sector supports companies and industries responsible for the development of some of Kenya's biggest export products like sustainable agricultural production and cash crops including tea, fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables and coffee. So, while oil may not feature in President Kenyatta's ‘Big Four' agenda – which aims to provide food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and affordable healthcare for all – a strong and ambitious energy sector is crucial for achieving these aims.
Already Asharami Synergy Kenya's Managing Director, Debola Adesanya, has outlined a plan for new projects across the wider energy value chain and it will be interesting to see how many other Kenyan companies step up to meet the challenges for the good of the nation's short and long-term health.