By XN Iraki
IMF data indicate by 2015 Africa, will have seven of the top 10 fastest growing economies in the world.
None will reach 10 per cent and Kenya is not among them. Our neighbour Ethiopia is on the merit list. By casting with Ethiopia, Kenya can better her position. Ethiopia’s fast growing economy will demand lots of goods and services.
With a population of almost 90 million, Ethiopia should be our biggest trading partner.
Building strong economic ties with neighbours is a sure way of accelerated growth rate. This is why Somalia too presents many opportunities. Investing in Somalia after Operation Linda Nchi should help decrease instability in the long run.
Globally, the most strategic trading partners are usually neighbours. For Somalia, our cultural similarity makes it even easier to establish ties. But there is more we can do to achieve the magic 10 per cent growth rate.
Beyond the neighbours, we need to reach the rest of the world. We should see the world as our market. All the recently developed countries like Asian Tigers have a global reach, building economic ties that amplify their size and influence. Would you think that South Korea has about the same population as Kenya?
These countries amplify their influence through trade that rides on globalisation. The expansion of Kenyan firms to neighbouring countries is a step in the right direction. But we are yet to boast of a global firm that can rival IBM, Samsung or SABMiller.
Some boldly argue such firms would be common if our policy makers were global thinkers. Instead they are preoccupied with local issues, which though important consume too much energy.
Can you imagine if we put as much energy on globalisation as we are putting on devolution? While devolution might solve the political problem, by giving different communities a semblance of self-determination, we shall soon realise it is all economics.