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Quick reforms a growth catalyst, says economist

By | July 15th 2009 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

By Luke Anami

The Government’s unwillingness to fasten the pace of key reforms is hampering quick economic recovery.

A US embassy official said the slow pace of reforms outlined under Agenda Four of the National Accord was not auguring well on the country’s efforts to revive the economy.

"Kenya should move faster and implement Agenda Four because much of economic recovery and progress depends on sound political structures," said Mr Eugene Young, the US Embassy Economic Counsellor.

Addressing journalists during a workshop on the forthcoming African Growth Opportunity Act (Agoa) forum, Young retaliated the US position on the need of fastening the pace of reforms as a catalyst for economic growth.

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Ready for business

"We expect Kenya to implement reforms like enacting a new constitution, reforming the police, putting in place a strong and independent electoral commission among other reforms. This will convince America that Kenya is ready for business," he said.

Echoing the words of US President Barrack Obama that Kenya should quickly implement Agenda Four, Young said corruption and poor governance continue to impede the potential of Kenya’s entrepreneurs and overall economic growth potential.

The US President has strongly criticised Kenya’s leadership, expressing concern about the country’s political and economic direction.

On his first visit to Sub-Saharan Africa as US President last week, Obama tore into Kenya’s leadership, saying "political parties do not seem to be moving into a permanent reconciliation that would allow the country to move forward."

Experience has shown that countries with good governance and strong structures perform economically better than those with poor political governance and thus the faster the Kenyan issues are tackled the better for the country.

"The reform agenda is as pertinent to Kenya as it is good for business. The US Government and the donor community will continue to support the country. However, it is the responsibility of the Kenyan Government to fast track on the reform agenda in order to realise the full potential of the assistance," he said.

Trade opportunities

The Agoa conference scheduled to take place from August 2 to 6 in Nairobi offers trade opportunities, which the country can take advantage of by improving the governance structures.

"Agoa provides Kenya with great opportunities in trade but lack of progress in reforms is denying Kenya a chance to take full advantage of the duty free access to US markets," stated Young.


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