Why Jubilee’s infrastructure development stimulates Kenya’s economy take-off
By By Irene Ombati
| July 4th 2017
With just one month to the General Elections, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election bid, which is hinged on massive investments in infrastructure development, seems to have won the hearts of many undecided voters.
From Turkana wind power, roads across Kenya to development of berth at the Lamu port the country is experiencing a new positive wave, never seen before, which will improve its rating as a growing economic destination. The dream of infrastructure development is key in ensuring access to decent incomes and livelihoods to all Kenyans. The country is firmly on the right path to success as Ernst & Young survey shows Nairobi has overtaken Johannesburg as the biggest investor in African countries.
President Uhuru has been categorical saying the country cannot run away from development and must continue to invest in infrastructure if the country’s economy is to grow and the people are able to achieve the prosperity desired as a nation.
Boom in real estate, renewable and geothermal energy, as well as roads and railways, are the fastest growing sectors in Kenya, with local banks also venturing into volatile environments such as South Sudan, DRC and Somalia. Now Kenya leads South Africa and Nigeria as the most attractive investment destinations in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Already, the citizens are reaping the fruits of the Sh327 billion standard gauge railway, the Madaraka Express, the country's largest investment since independence, which has reduced the time spent travelling from Mombasa to Nairobi by half to four hours. Though passenger transport is not the main reason the railway was constructed, it has timely filled the void and will supplement the freight services and ease the payment of the loan back to China.
It is such project that has re-energised President Uhuru in saying Kenya requires such structures and systems, which are necessary to boost the economy
Tough Kenyan government has relied heavily on Chinese-built and Chinese-financed projects to achieve the president's infrastructure campaign promises its effect will continue to benefit the citizens for over 100 years.
This bolt move fills in the pieces of the steps taken by the Asian Tigers, a group of countries in the Far East including South Korea and Singapore, which rose from poverty to wealth. Such dreams have enabled these countries to become economic giants. They ignored the World Bank, they ignored the IMF and opted to restructure their systems using bilateral trade and today they actually have their own banking institution, a development bank growing their economies. This is the vision that President Uhuru has for the country, to allow it draw its own destiny.
Kenya is now opening up to ideas and stakeholders have the right to get their views on matters of roads, ports, railways, airports and related issues ranging from tenders, budgetary allocations to payments listened to.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has said time and again that this country has people who can champion its course. Citizens who know what Kenya needs, what the country must do and are capable of cutting off the shackles tied by IMF and World Bank. President Uhuru has shown that the country is no longer going to be the dumping ground for policies and ideologies that have failed elsewhere. Kenyan people have no jobs and are suffering in poverty and their solution is not in empty political rhetoric but on coming up with infrastructures that will serve them, which Jubilee has been putting in place in the last four and half years.
The challenge now is for the Jubilee government to make sure that with infrastructure in place, investments must be done appropriately without corruption and utilise the resources in each sector in the best possible manner. The interlink with other neighbouring countries which Lapsset and the railway line will do will only open up the market and the horizon to which extend Kenyans can trade fast and in secure and friendly environment.
The tide is changing and it is positioning Africa as a major economic take-off through industrialisation, and Kenya needs to attract more investments and take full advantage of growing demand of manufactured goods, including garments, which are made locally. This is in line with Vision 2030, which seeks to transform the country into an upper middle income economy driven by industrialisation and also make its business sector more productive and globally competitive.
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