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2030 blueprint inches forward amid headwinds

BUSINESS
By Graham Kajilwa | November 28th 2021
By Graham Kajilwa | November 28th 2021
BUSINESS

Construction of the Dongo Kundu bypass bridge, Mombasa. [Robert Menza, Standard]

The government is upbeat that Vision 2030 will be achieved within the set time frame despite major challenges that have hampered its implementation.

Key in the vision was an annual economic growth rate of 10 per cent, which is far from being achieved with less than a decade to the target date amid drawbacks such as perennial drought and the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, the Vision 2030 Delivery Board released three progress reports for flagship projects from the time the plan was unveiled in 2008 to last year, clustered as 2008-17, 2018-19 and 2019-20.

The blueprint seeks to transform Kenya into a globally competitive nation economically by 2030 and is anchored on three pillars: economic, social and political.

With nine years remaining, and expected regime changes in next year’s election, ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru said the plan will still be achieved when put in the right hands. 

He said Kenya has made tremendous progress since 2008 when Vision 2030 was unveiled, citing digitisation of government services and growth of mobile financial technology as highlights.

Platforms such as eCitizen and Ardhi Sasa, he said, have transformed lives and put more hours in the hands of Kenyans to build the economy.

“With blockchain technology, it means your title deed is yours and people cannot change it,” Mr Mucheru said.

“If you have already charged your property in one bank and want to move it to another, it should not be a problem, it should be automated.”

The CS said because of this progress, Kenya conducted a digital census and analyse the data in four months compared to four years when the process was manual.

“We have made serious and important strides in our countries and in many cases we do not seem to celebrate. We sometimes focus on the holes and not the great successes we make,” he said.

The Vision 2030 pillars themselves have several enablers among them infrastructure, information communication and technology, science, technology and innovation, land reforms, human resource development, security, peace building and conflict resolution.

Values and ethics

Others are public service reforms, national value and ethics, and ending drought emergencies.

The target was to grow the economy at 10 per cent per year by 2012.

The progress report for 2008-17 documents that 7,646 kilometres of roads had been constructed or repaired against a target of 8,000km.

“Some of the challenges experienced during the period included: inadequate financing, high capital investment requirement in roads construction, high construction and maintenance costs,” the report says.

Other challenges included inadequate enforcement of traffic regulations and axle load limits.

The report further shows that in the energy sub-sector, connections to electricity increased to 6,456,516 customers in 2017 from 1,060,383 in 2008.

Electricity installed capacity increased to 2,333 megawatts (MW) in 2017 from 1,310MW in 2008.

By the 2018-19 financial year, the related report shows, a total of 2,222km of road were constructed or repaired.  This was against a target of 1,788km in the medium-term plan.

Connection to electricity in this period increased to 7,095,039 customers, while total installed capacity increased to 2,712MW from 2,341 in 2017-18.

“To enhance connectivity in off-grid areas, two hybrid stations were constructed,” reads the report.

Real gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to have expanded by 6.3 per cent in 2018 compared to 4.9 per cent in 2017.

“The growth was attributed to increased agricultural production, accelerated manufacturing activities, sustained growth in transportation and vibrant service sector industries,” the report says.

The 2019-20 report, while detailing the resilience of Kenya’s economy against the Covid-19 pandemic, highlights progress under the Foundations for National Transformation.

The report says real GDP grew by 2.9 per cent.

Among the key growth areas were construction of 1,489km of new roads, while 28,847km were maintained.

Power generation capacity increased by 86.3 megawatts to 2,716.5MW with over 500,397 households being connected, bringing the total to over 7.5 million customers.

On land reforms, 454,990 titles were registered. Vision 2030 Delivery Board chair Jane Karuku said more can be achieved in the remaining years.

“Nine years may be a long time but can also be a very one. I think we all can achieve a lot but we also can find ourselves not having moved at all,” said Ms Karuku, who is the managing director of East African Breweries.

Perennial challenges that cut across the three reports include inadequate funding, high instances of litigation on projects by agencies and civil society, high cost of resettlement, delays in land acquisition and disaggregated data in renewable energy.

“You know how difficult it is going through legal battles trying to get access for a piece of infrastructure from one place to another,” said Rita Kavashe, Vision Delivery Board member and Isuzu East Africa managing director.

“We have experienced those delays so this geofencing is very critical.”

The reports call for political goodwill and top leadership support at the national and county level to fast track development of key projects and programmes.

Former Kenya Private Sector Alliance chairman Nicholas Nesbitt, who heads the economic pillar committee in the Vision 2030 Delivery Board, said Kenya is on the path to achieving the vision as it is now a middle-income country and heading for upper-middle-income.

“Our core mandate is moving the economy up the value chain and that means moving from being an extractive economy where we extract minerals or harvest agricultural products and ship them abroad,” he said.

“We want to go up the value chain and ensure there is more value that is created locally before we export.”

Nesbett said if the economic pillar can be achieved, the country will hit the 10 per cent annual growth rate and sustain it beyond 2030.

This growth is dependent on several sectors among them tourism, agriculture and livestock, manufacturing, information technology, financial services, oil and gas.

Nesbitt said the economic pillar also marries with the Big Four Agenda that focuses on manufacturing and job creation, universal healthcare, affordable housing and food security.

“As we know, the Big Four Agenda is a derivation of the Vision 2030 strategy, it is not something new. It aims to consolidate the achievement of socio-economic transformation that will in turn propel the Vision 2030 goals.”

Juliana Rotich, a tech entrepreneur and also a member of the board, said the reports launched actually show how far the country has come and how much further it needs to go.

“There is a multiplier effect when government agencies do what they need to do to create an enabling environment for this country, and it matters a lot for our capability to be able to create more jobs and to fulfill our mandates in our businesses,” she said.

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