Eng Martha Cheruto
Deputy Chief Executive Officer
Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA)
Date: Wednesday 26th August, 2020
Martha Cheruto is the Deputy Chief Executive Officer at the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA); the private sector apex body that brings together the business community under a single umbrella to engage and influence public policy for an enabling business environment.
Martha holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), a diploma in Efficient Energy Use & Planning from Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA, Sweden), a Masters in Management & Leadership from Management University of Africa (MUA) and is currently pursuing a PhD in Management & Leadership at MUA. She is a qualified and registered engineer with the Engineers Board of Kenya (EBK) and The Institution of Engineers of Kenya (IEK); a Certified Energy Manager and has pursued several courses, locally and internationally on policy and legislative drafting, renewable energy, strategy development, finance, industrial operations, among others. She is a recipient of the Women in Energy Professional Technical Award, Kenya; Tech Women Emerging Leaders Program 2020/21 and a Finalist for Outstanding Women in Water and Power, South Africa.
A seasoned Engineer with a wealth of experience in both public and private sector, Martha has a track record of contributing to the overall growth strategy of organizations. She is highly accomplished in advocacy, coordination of project activities, stakeholder management, public policy formulation, private sector sustainable development, energy, climate change, green growth, and Government relations. She has co-chaired two national taskforces spearheading development of Climate Change Policy, Climate Change Act 2016 and Green Economy Strategy and Implementation Plan. As a Certified Energy Manager, Martha has been instrumental in promoting adoption of energy efficiency and conservation on a national scale.
Prior to joining KEPSA, Martha worked in Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) and Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM). During her tenure at the organizations, she has supported manufacturers in facilitating a conducive environment for trade, business development and supply efficiency. She has been a speaker and a facilitator in local and global conferences on energy, climate change and private sector development. She is actively involved in mentorship, women empowerment, and community development through her representation as a council member of FGM to STEM; a program under Women in Energy.
The private sector plays a pivotal role in the energy space globally through generation, transmission, distribution and retailing power for eventual consumption. In Kenya, the agility and diversity of the power infrastructure provides a good opportunity for expansion, innovation and building of sustainable, redundant networks. “The government goodwill and support gives a good opportunity for investors and industry players to grow the power infrastructure for both demand and supply” – The State of Kenya’s Private Sector: Recommendations for Government Development Report. Government’s intention to increase uptake of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), particularly in large infrastructural projects presents an opportunity for private sector involvement, reduce the fiscal pressure thus allowing government to invest in social goods. For example, the energy sector has been at the forefront in the implementation of the PPPs where various independent Power Producers (IPPs) have been able to bridge the power generation gap. This has seen the country avoid the disruptive power rationing program hence a major boost to businesses.
New models and collaboration between the public and private institutions are crucial in strengthening the role of private sector to increase production and energy access. This has a cascading effect locally in the realization of the Big4 Agenda, where energy is seen as an enabler and globally the attainment of SDG7 on universal access to affordable, reliable and clean energy.
Indeed, access to affordable, reliable and clean energy is a key enabler to Kenya’s Vision 2030 focus to become a rapidly industrializing middle-income economy providing high quality of life for its citizens. Over the years, major reforms have been undertaken in the sector thus increasing power access and reliability, moving Kenya’s ranking in the “getting electricity” indicator of the World Bank’s Doing Business Index from position 151 in 2015 to 70 in 2020. However, the overall power demand still remains low with total installed capacity at 2,818 MW as of 2019 against envisaged power production of over 15,000 MW by 2030. Whereas this is a clear indication of low consumption, it presents an opportunity for further production.
To increase the demand and catalyse Kenya’s economic transformation, the priority must be positioning the country as an attractive investment destination and supporting growth of local businesses by creating an enabling business environment and addressing the main challenges affecting competitiveness such as cost of power. While a number of measures have been adopted to lower the power cost such as Time of Use Tariffs and 30% rebate on overall cost for manufacturers, more needs to be done to further bring down power costs across all sectors.
In this conference, we look forward to sharing opportunities to boost our investment climate and best global practices in policy formulation that will promote innovation around the existing infrastructure as well as looking at the opportunities for grid interconnectivity, hybrid networks, financing and installation of off-grid stations and creation of a friendly regulatory environment for all stakeholders in the energy sector.