GES 2015
The Telescope

LONG TERM POLICY FOCUS NEEDED TO DRIVE NEW KENYA

Former Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph once said that Kenyans have peculiar habits. And nowhere in Nairobi is our peculiarity more pronounced than on social media. The digital culture that has slowly but surely taken over most national conversations is vicious and astounding at the same time.

Using hash tags and blazing keyboards to ensure that Kenya is discussed fairly and with respect in the online market, Kenyans on Twitter better known as #KOT are a growing phenomenon born out of the social media boom in the pulsating Kenyan economy in an increasingly crowded online universe.

Media giant CNN found itself on the wrong side of #KOT last week when they called Kenya a hotbed of terror. #SomeoneTellCNN trended for a little over a day with Kenyans roasting CNN for the seemingly offensive tagline. To add to the action was the responsive hash tag #GESKenya2015 covering the successful sixth Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) that by extension holds a world of promise for the country’s unrelenting entrepreneurial spirit.

POTUS ‘s visit is a key moment in Kenya’s history to renew the right kind of international support for citizen-led development.

In the wake of this new maximum gain, Kenya has continually been highly regarded as a country on the move. Capable of building a firm, irreversible alignment to progress so as to achieve sustainable development that Kenya boasts of as a fast rising economy .

However the big question is: How does Kenya navigate towards further benefits to take on the world after GES? Does Kenya have what it takes to sustain its rapid growth? Can the country and its leadership steer towards modern economic structures that focus on technology driven markets and redefine our reliance on traditional commodity markets?

It’s no doubt that Kenya has the power to tap, greatly into its own innovative revolution that can place her on the world map; M-Pesa is one of those innovative ideas among many others being injected into the market.

Imposing opportunities that can be availed to our able youths and women also hold great potential to transform the entrepreneurship industry enormously. By incorporating women and youth the nation will steer towards a devolved connection throughout the country – from the government quarters to the grass root level so as to connect new technologies to diffuse executive powers while laying a much needed emphasis on the integrity of leaders and governance institutions taking centre stage.

Also, accountability efforts by civil societies and think tanks must be expanded dramatically. With an extra caution to avoid a repeat of past mistakes of lionizing specific leaders or regions as President of the United States Barack Obama’s warned so as its easier for Kenyans to hold dormant leaders to account.

POTUS ‘s visit is a key moment in Kenya’s history to renew the right kind of international support for citizen-led development. Start ups of initiatives that will boost vital sectors such as business, technology, health, education, agriculture among others are welcome .They will offer great potential to reinvigorate Kenya to reach its maximum potential to become a thriving Investment Hub.

However as Kenya looks forward to reap from the global summit an emerging challenge weighs on our part. To tap into our profound potential we require a long term policy focus and a redefined management strategy. Vision 2030 is not too far from our reach but as the evil hand of corruption continues to linger unchecked our country’s economic mission will remain disrupted.

This article was published on the People Weekend Newspaper 1-2, August 2015

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