Trade powerhouse Richard Ngatia is determined to secure a second term as president of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), garnering endorsements from various regions across the nation. Ngatia, who has become a formidable force in regional and continental trade negotiations, is contending with the chamber’s first vice president, Eric Rutto. The steadfast Ngatia is also counting on his running mate, Abdulwalli Sharrif, to secure the votes needed to win.
Delegates from 5 counties in the Mt. Kenya region, 9 counties forming the Lake Region, 5 counties from the Coast Region, and metropolitan areas such as Nairobi, Narok, Kajiado, and Turkana have all thrown their support behind Ngatia. His supporters praise his smooth and impactful leadership at KNCCI, and trade insiders predict a victory for Ngatia in the June 8, 2023 election, which the Independent Electoral Board will oversee.
During Ngatia’s tenure, KNCCI played a crucial role in helping businesses rebound from economic setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization forged strong partnerships with national and county governments, financial institutions, corporate bodies, and development partners to support enterprises through digitization, credit access programs, training, skill enhancement, and market link expansion initiatives.
Under Ngatia’s leadership, KNCCI’s membership skyrocketed from 7,000 to over 60,000 members registered directly, with another one million members registered through associations. This increase is due to his advocacy for a conducive business environment. Ngatia’s extensive credentials include membership in the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) World Chambers Federation (WCF) General Council, chairmanship of the International Conference on Great Lake Region-Private Sector Forum ICGLR in Africa, and board membership in the East Africa Chamber of Commerce.
In 2022, Ngatia made history as the first Kenyan appointed to the WCF for a two-and-a-half-year term, starting on January 1, 2023. His appointment was celebrated as a significant boost to local businesses, as the Kenya Kwanza government continues to seek market expansion and deeper trade connections with traditional allies.
The KNCCI has persistently advocated for increased linkages with countries in Europe and Asia to broaden markets for Kenyan products and services. The organization has focused on connecting Kenyan traders with key economies such as China, France, and South Korea, emphasizing the reduction of trade barriers impeding the flow of local products into these markets.
Under Ngatia’s guidance, KNCCI members now have access to long-term credit of up to Sh500 million from the Kenya Development Corporation (KDC) thanks to an agreement between the two entities. The loan facility offers a repayment period of between three and ten years, with a grace period ranging from six months to two years.