In the recent past, investors and trade experts have placed great interest in the Kenyan market, leading the country to reap vast economic benefits. But this had not been the case for a long time, given grave corruption scandals , policy uncertainty and the importance of patronage and political connections in the business arena.
However, the government has continually placed emphasis in prioritising reforms and great strides have been taken in their implementation. To date, the actions taken have generated positive opinions in the local and international business community.
The international community also needs more convincing in the country’s rising economic prosperity and whether it’s sustainable in alleviating the level of poverty across the nation. Even while huge capital investment projects that Kenya craves for to sustain growth continue to be injected into the market, there still has been a constant trend of failure to ensure inclusive growth.
It is not lost on us that the government has either selectively or collectively failed to provide employment for the burgeoning youthful population. And it is these youth who are being radicalised into terror groups.
Then, instead of being part of Kenya’s growth they are acting as a real threat to growth especially when considering the important role of security and stability in, meaningful economic growth.
It is important to note that the government’s national development agenda as articulated in the various policy documents is grounded on alleviating poverty, creating wealth, and improving the welfare of the common person.
“It is not lost on us that the government has either selectively or collectively failed to provide employment for the burgeoning youthful population.”
To achieve this, there is a general need to return to integrity and accountability in the management of public resources, efficient and fair administration of justice, institutionalisation of democratic government, respect for and enforcement of human rights and the development of strong and stable institutions of governance.
On the other hand, increased private investment will require sustained improvement in the investment climate. Currently, the reforms and the recent improvements in economic performance have not altered the perceptions of the Kenyan and international business communities that the business climate requires intensive modifications.
Also a broad range of factors that contribute to a poor business and investment climate, including infrastructure, tax rates and administration, corruption, cost of finance, crime, informal business practices, regulatory uncertainty draw to an unbalanced economic environment.
However, this is Kenya’s moment- Africa’s moment and the world is watching. The challenge in implementing a tenable policy roadmap should be one that is addressed quickly and aggressively. Half of Kenya’s population is covered by the youths and each year there are 200,000 more 20-year-olds than the year before.
The only true challenge is in transforming this youth bulge into an opportunity so as to propel this country into its implicit success.