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Reviewing Kenya’s New Startup Bill

Kenya, and particularly its commercial hub, Nairobi, is a major economic player, not just in East Africa, but in Africa as a whole.

Also known as “Silicon Savannah,” Nairobi has a strong fintech and wider tech and financial services ecosystem.

In September, the Kenyan parliament published a Startup Bill through which the Kenyan government aims to create a number of incentives for startups, besides having a intellectual property protection. The bill, called 'Startup Bill 2020' provides a framework for the developing innovative entrepreneurship, establishing incubation hubs, and building a network of global and regional investors in the Kenyan economy.

The bill highlights that in the African continent, Tunisia and Senegal have noticed the potential of startups in their countries to support rapid social-economic development, which has resulted in them enacting their own laws to recognise, support and regulate start-ups activities. The Kenyan Startup Bill 2020 then justifies its own rationale on this basis.

In light of this, the new Startup Bill “therefore seeks to provide a legislative framework —

  • That fosters a culture of innovative thinking and entrepreneurship
  • For the registration of startups and the linkage of such startups with financial institutions, the private sector research institutions and such other institutions at the National and county level of government
  • To facilitate investment in and the provision of fiscal and nonfiscal support to startups in Kenya
  • That promotes an enabling environment for the establishment, development, conduct of business and regulation of startups
  • For the establishment of incubation facilities at the National and county levels of government and environment that promotes the establishment of startups and
  • For the monitoring and evaluation of the legal and regulatory framework and the mechanisms put in place to encourage the development of startups.

The bill was published in the Kenya Gazette.

Kenya In Focus:

Population: 52.6 million (Compared to South Africa's 59.6 million)

GDP: $95.5 billion (Compared to South Africa's $369.85 billion)

GDP Per Capita: $1,750 (Compared to South Africa's $6,193)