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High security hurts Kenya's businesses

Monday, Jun 09, 2014 - 02:00

June 9 - Insecurity in Kenya is having negative effects on local businesses and the economy following attacks that have killed dozens over the past year. As Melanie Ralph reports trade, transport and tourism have all been hit.

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This now is the harsh reality of life here in the Kenyan Capital. Security has been ramped up in the wake of a series of bomb attacks targeting commuters. Privacy invaded as bags and pockets are checked, but locals prefer to be safe than sorry. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DENNIS OUMA, COMMUTER SAYING: "It's not a waste of time really because if you are secure then you'll reach the place you are going safely and I do not think it takes too much time so it is not a waste of time." Last month, blasts in Nairobi and Mombasa killed dozens of people. It's believed militants linked to Somalia's al Qaeda-aligned Al Shabaab group or their sympathisers are to blame. The attacks have taken their toll on local business. At this popular clothes market one market trader says the blasts are making shoppers jittery. (SOUNDBITE) (Swahili) MICHAEL KILELU, SECOND-HAND CLOTHES TRADER SAYING: "To say the truth, the incident that happened reduced our customers because there used to be more people. Now you find when customers come here, they are very alert because anything can happen. There are those no longer take their time like they used to.'' On the global stage investors are keeping a close eye on developments too. The attacks have dented plans to boost tourism -- Kenya's second-biggest source of foreign exchange after agriculture -- which earns about 12 percent of the nation's GDP. As for foreign direct investment, one analysts thinks that overall the confidence in Kenya is still there. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SAMUEL GICHOHI, NIC BANK STOCKS AND SECURITIES ANALYST SAYING: "We have continued to see that despite the security situation, not just in Kenya but in various parts of Africa, we have continued to see that foreign direct investment continues to flow in. So it's really a function of how it is dealt with going forward, what sort of security investors may feel.'' The government will have its work cut out trying to restore confidence in the region. And increased security could very well be the key to reassuring not only the locals on the ground but investors too.

High security hurts Kenya's businesses

Monday, Jun 09, 2014 - 02:00

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