Report on the BIK AGM, 2018

The AGM took place as a breakfast event on Friday, 7th December, 2018.  The venue, was the Capital Club EA, Westlands as was the case the previous year.


  1. General introduction
  2. AGM Elements:
  • Approval of Accounts
  • Annual Report for 2018
  • Election of Office Bearers and approval of new BIK Co-Chair
  1. Security briefing by Insight
  2. Panel discussion with invited guests
  • Flora Mutahi, CEO Melvin Marsh International
  • Gordon Odundo, CEO The Nairobi Hospital
  • Stewart Henderson, Chair East Africa Association
  • Vincent O’Neill, Irish Ambassador to Kenya
  • Gerald Kasimu, Head of Advisory Services KPMG
  1. Q&A and comments from the floor
  2. Conclusion of meeting and announcements of dates for BIK meetings in 2019

Minute 1: General Introduction: – Mr. Niall Meany

The BIK Co-Chair, Mr. Niall Meany, welcomed members and guests to the End year BIK Business Breakfast meeting and Annual General Meeting 2018. He informed the guests that the society had progressed holding four thematic business breakfast meetings on doing business environment, the Government’s Big 4, tourism and agri-food; and two round-table meetings on healthcare and the social development goals. It had been a busy year, yet very successful for the network.

He informed members that BIK had an increased membership of 13 corporate members and 46 individual members, totaling to 85 members. In addition to that, he noted BIK’s co-sponsorship of St. Patrick’s Day concert and BIK’s successful social event at Movenpick Hotel, which all went well with positive feedback from some of the members. He also informed members of BIK’s participation in the Africa Ireland Economic Forum delegation to Ireland.

He informed members that there were 2 ministerial visits during the year: Minister Boxer Moran, Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief, during the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and Minister Pat Breen, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection who had a 2-day visit to Kenya for the Blue Economy Conference. In the course of Minister Pat Breen’s visit, he participated at a meeting with the BIK Steering Committee at the Intercontinental Hotel where he committed to easing the process in trade relations between Irish and Kenyan businesses. Mr. Meany also informed the audience on the launch of the updated Doing Business in Kenya Guide in Nairobi and Dublin.

Lastly, Mr. Meany introduced the Digital Marketing team, Bright Spark Ltd, who would be interviewing BIK members during and after the event to collect content for BIK’s 2019 digital marketing plan for both the website and the social media pages.

Minute 2: Approval of Accounts: – Ms. Kate Kiguru

Ms. Kate Kiguru presented the accounts for the year ended, tabled at the meeting.

These are attached as an annex.

Minute 3: Annual Report 2018: – Mr. Darren Gillen:

Mr. Darren Gillen presented the Business Ireland Kenya Association general report for the year ended, tabled at the meeting.

These are attached as an annex.

Minute 4: Election of Office Bearers and approval of new BIK Co-Chair:

This event was presided over by Ms. Sharon Gordon, Committee Member. She thanked the retiring members of the committee, Mr. Niall Meany and Ms. Jo Ryan for their service to the BIK Steering Committee during their time in office. She informed members that she would also step down as a committee member. She then reported that the rest of the Committee members had kindly agreed to serve another term.

Mr. Darren Gillen was nominated and proposed as the 2019 BIK SC Co-Chair by Mr. Niall Meany and seconded by Ms. Kate Kiguru. The members present unanimously agreed and approved Mr. Gillen as the new Co-Chair replacing Mr. Niall Meany.

The other members of the committee retained their seats in the Steering Committee as follows:

Co-Chair: Lau Larsen

Ass. Secretary: Sharon Gordon

Treasurer: Kate Kiguru

Ass. Treasurer: Lisa Doherty

Committee Member: Sharon Gordon

Committee Member: Lisa Källbäck

Committee Member: Kenneth Gitonga

Minute 5: Panel Discussion

The moderator, Mr. Darren Gillen, introduced the five speakers in the panel, highlighting their involvement in diverse areas of development. Panelists included:

  • Flora Mutahi, Chief Executive Officer of Melvin Marsh International
  • Gordon Odundo, Chief Executive Officer of The Nairobi Hospital
  • Stewart Henderson, Chair of East Africa Association
  • Vincent O’Neill, Irish Ambassador to Kenya
  • Gerald Kasimu, Head of Advisory Services, KPMG East Africa

He went on to highlight their areas of specialty and their involvement in the Kenyan market. He also thanked them for attending the business breakfast meeting.

Mr. Stewart Henderson

Mr. Henderson gave a brief presentation of the Eastern Africa Association, informing guests that they are an Association that is the initiative of a number of prominent, mainly British based companies with business interest in East Africa. Over the years their regional activities have expanded from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania to include Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, the Seychelles, Eritrea and South. He noted that their Membership now embraces more than three hundred and fifty foreign investors, representing all major sectors of business investment in agriculture, industry, commerce, financial services and the professions.

Mr. Henderson went on to outline some of the areas that attribute to the success of business in Kenya:

  • People: Mr. Henderson described his experience working in Kenya informing the audience, “If you want something done in Kenya, ask a lady to do it…”. He also added that ladies are more focused and give more attention to detail and will get the job done very well.
  • Opportunity to develop a niche in the market: Change is inevitable. The ability of a business to find a niche, develop and venture into it in the market will give the business an upper hand and head start in the market. Kenyans are very creative and provide good solutions to problems they face.

Ms. Florah Mutahi

Based on the Government’s Big 4 Agenda, Ms. Mutahi provided a very erudite summary of the Manufacturing pillar and the available opportunities for both BIK members and Irish companies that are interested in working in Kenya. She started with informing the guests about the Manufacturing sector and concluded that it contributes to 10% of the GDP of the economy of Kenya. She further explained that the biggest opportunity for investment and partnerships lies in the Agriculture sector through provision of equipment and in easing the manufacturing process altogether. In addition, the government’s current agenda in relation to the manufacturing pillar is access to markets noting that 97% of tea is exported in bulk. She also added that there are lots of opportunities in the agri-business sector in Kenya siting that both Ireland and Kenya are big in Agriculture and that both countries can benefit from each other as Ireland can partner Kenyan agri-business organisations and provide equipment that would help in increasing the yield of the produce in the Kenyan farms. In addition, the Irish tech industry is vast and would help the Kenyan businesses in adapting the modernised systems since every business is adopting to the new digital age.

She concluded by stating that the manufacturing sector in Kenya contributes to 10% of the country’s economy, having a slow growth throughout the year despite the fast growth of other sectors in the country, like the service and tourism sector. She added that the best way to grow the sector is by implementing stable policies that incentivize the manufacturing sector, government participation in the eradication of illicit trade and ensuring a balance of trade in terms of what is imported and exported from Kenya.

Mr. Gordon Odundo

Mr. Odundo shared his past year experience with the audience as a BIK corporate member and being in partnership with an Irish company. He acknowledged and commended the Ambassador for his involvement in the network and the level of interaction between members as unique and open. He informed members of his involvement with Enterprise Ireland who facilitated their partnership and as a result, he was able to visit Ireland and learn from their health sector. He added that The Nairobi Hospital are currently implementing a software with an Irish company that will help in maintaining cleanliness in the hospital.

He also shared his perception on possible opportunities for Kenya’s Health sector in terms of partnerships and trade relations with Ireland, particularly for 2019. He informed members that Ireland’s healthcare sector is all ‘paperless’ and have integrated their systems with technology which could be Kenya’s first point of bench-marking. He urged Irish companies to be more rigorous with their follow-ups and making frequent visits which would strengthen their relations with companies they are interested to partner with.

Mr. Gerald Kasimu

Mr. Kasimu presented the KPMG 2018 East Africa CEO Outlook indicating that the survey included a representative sample of East African CEOs from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia. He noted that the survey’s findings speak to the formidable task shouldered by today’s East African CEOs, and the strategic priorities they are pursuing for growth in 2019. Businesses will have to transform and adapt, and make key investments that allow them to strengthen their offering and solidify their position in the market, remaining agile as they do so.

The key findings from the survey include:

  1. Technological Disruption: a double-edged sword
  • Nine in 10 CEOs see technology as more of an opportunity than a threat. Only a third (35 percent) feel that they are struggling to keep pace with the rate of technological innovation.
  • East African CEOs identify the top threats to their organisation’s growth as emerging technology risk (43 percent), and operational risk (43 percent)
  • 49 percent say that becoming a victim of a cyber-attack is a case of “when”, not “if”. Only a third of East African CEOs believe that their organisations are either ‘very well’ or ‘well’ prepared for a future cyber-attack, while just over half (55 percent) say they have the ability to contain the impact of an attack on strategic operations.
  1. Realistic growth: Optimism tempered by pragmatism
  • East African CEOs are very confident about their own businesses: nine in 10 are confident in the company’s growth prospects for the next 3 years – 70 percent are confident in the growth prospects for the global economy.
  • A large majority of East African CEOs anticipate moderate increases in both revenue and headcount over the next 3 years. Three-quarters anticipate top-line revenue growth for their organisation of 2 percent or less, while the same proportion expect headcount to increase by less than 5 percent
  • 78 percent of East African CEOs report a low to moderate appetite for M&A.
  • East African CEOs are looking primarily at strategic alliances with third parties (27 percent) and organic growth (25 percent) to achieve their organisation’s growth objectives.
  1. Digital gets personal – CEOs take personal ownership of driving digital transformation and trust
  • 69% of CEOs agree that they are personally prepared to lead their organisations through radical transformation.
  • 73% see protecting customer data as a critical, personal responsibility.
  • 82% expect AI to create more jobs than eliminate.

In conclusion, he noted that the 2018 Global CEO Outlook finds chief executives optimistic about the economy and excited by the growth opportunities offered by disruption. At the same time, CEOs are managing their exposure to a range of headwinds. Driving growth will require CEOs to combine equal amounts of resourcefulness and realism.

Dr. Vincent O’Neill

After recently holding a Social Development Goals and social impact event, the Irish Ambassador to Kenya, Dr. Vincent O’Neill, shared with the members the issues that arose from the event. He informed members that, as shared by the panel members:

  1. Profitability and sustainability go hand in hand
  2. Many businesses are now changing their roles by including the SDG framework in their business plans and are taking on a more responsible role in the society.
  • There is need for leadership, pro-activity and support from the Board, Directors and/or Management of organisations to ensure success in implementing the SDGs.
  1. All businesses are different and all require different ways in integrating a commitment to the SDGs; since there is a need for time and expertise to implement the SDGs to an organisation’s framework, there are lots of opportunities for these businesses to learn and receive guidance and support from businesses that have succeeded.
  2. SDGs are providing business opportunities especially in the energy, clean water and healthcare sectors

Questions and Discussions.

Mr. Gillen then opened the floor to questions and comments:

  • Members thanked BIK, and the panelists for the event and gave their support to efforts to address the current economy situation in regards to doing business in Kenya and increasing Kenya- Ireland trade relations.
  • It was highlighted that there is an increase in the abuse of antibiotics due to unprescribed veterinary drugs for farm animals especially in Africa which are further leading to the antibiotic resistance in humans causing a ripple effect in the health sector.
  • There is a low percentage outlook by corporates based on the KPMG CEO survey: what could be the cause of the low figures?
  • The sample of businesses used to compile the KPMG CEO survey.

Responses from the panel

  • Kasimu informed the members that the actual survey started in December 2017 and ran up until February 2018. This period was particularly hard for the Kenyan economy because we had just come from 2 presidential elections and most business leaders were looking at the impact on business from the post-election wrangles. He also added that the survey focuses on large companies in the region and not SMEs.
  • He further explained that the results are aligned globally without any bias. He also noted that out of the 50 countries interviewed in Africa, the largest group of CEOs were from East Africa: 11 from Kenya, 7 from Tanzania, 8 from Uganda and 8 from Ethiopia.

Mr. Darren Gillen concluded the session by acknowledging the contributions of the panelists and audience members.

Minute 6: Conclusion and Closing of AGM

Mr. Niall Meany thanked all participants, panelists and members, for attending the final BIK business breakfast meeting and AGM, and urged members to renew their subscriptions for 2019. Lastly, together with Mr. Lau Larsen, they informed the guests that Dr. Vincent O’Neill had successfully completed his tour of duty in Kenya and would be leaving for Jordan later in the month. They both presented the Ambassador and his wife, Brona Ni Mhuiri, with a token of appreciation for their commitment, support and passion in building Kenya-Ireland trade relations and providing opportunities for BIK members.

The meeting ended at 9.45 am.

Embassy, Nairobi.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018