With polls behind us, it’s time for President to fix economy

Tuesday November 28 2017

By HARRISON MWIRIGI IKUNDA
More by this Author

Political campaigns have left Kenya a very divided nation, with the split being along ethnic lines.

That is not all. Other problems facing the country include tribalism, corruption, greed for power, crime, poverty and massive unemployment.

Unless we address the economic malady, it will be difficult or next to impossible to contain the rest of the problems.

Corruption is an economic crime and it fuels many of the economic problems that we have.

INDUSTRIALISATION
The Kenyan economy looks very promising.

Kenya is one of the relatively stable countries in Africa that has made modest economic progress without oil and precious metals.

If you take into account the prospects of oil, even with the changing global trend of moving towards green energy, and some mineral resources, this is a country that can easily gain a lot of ground.

But if you compare the level of imports and exports month-to-month, you realise that Kenya may not be making much progress towards industrialisation.

UNEMPLOYMENT
A look at the growth in tourism numbers over the years since 1963 shows that we have huge gaps to fill.

Manufacturing and tourism are key sectors to economies such as Kenya’s if the countries seek to address unemployment.

All the sectors of an economy are important but we must target areas that can quickly reduce unemployment as we continue to vigorously build on others as well.

If you look at the number of college and university graduates joining the labour market each year and compare it to the level of decent jobs created in Kenya, you end up appreciating the uphill task we face in reducing poverty.

IMPORTS
If you also consider that many workers have been retrenched and some factories have become obsolete or have failed to cope with changes in technology, you will see the extent of the problem we have.

We should also bear in mind that Kenya is increasingly becoming a net importer of most of the goods we use, especially in factories.

We surely have to rejig the economy.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government faces a number of challenges that need to be tackled.

POVERTY
A lot of work needs to be done if President Kenyatta has to build a solid legacy.

To end ethnic hatred, it is important to work towards defeating poverty.

Poor Kenyans will always buy into any negativity, and with poverty, it becomes easier for people to conclude that the problem is caused by others.

In Kenya, this inevitably takes an ethnic angle.

It is obvious that we cannot talk of overcoming poverty without creating decent employment and an enabling environment for legal and ethical businesses.