Election squabbles should not blind us from seeing our development potential


Tourists arrive at Moi international Airport, Mombasa. There are huge opportunities in manufacturing and tourism sectors. FILE PHOTO | NMG

I’m optimistic of positive developments in Kenya despite the many challenges facing us.

Being a good student of history and having studied global trends, more so on politics and economics, I am optimistic that Kenya will grow positively if only we are willing to let her.

Peeking at history, no nation has ever remained stuck in one dispensation for far too long.

The period of stagnation is usually painful, especially to low earners, and in many cases it results in revolutions.

If you study the history of the US, Russia, China , Japan, and South Korea you discover that they all underwent some painful periods or made some strategic blunders along the way, especially of the political nature, which impacted heavily on their economies.

However, they overcame the challenges and soldiered on. Some of the challenges African countries are going through today will give way to a new dispensation.

History has a way of teaching nations new lessons from which they forge new realities. I see Kenya overcoming its hurdles and shinning a light to most third world countries. Nonetheless, we have plenty of adverse issues to deal with.

Besides corruption and tribalism, unemployment is rampant with most Kenyans living in abject poverty.

We should keep an eye on developments in the job market which is a key indicator of the health of the economy.

Many Kenyans join the labour market each year and ability to generate sufficient decent jobs is quite limited.

As more youth join the job market some adults are being retrenched due to poor performance of businesses, making them unable to provide gainful employment opportunities.

Yet it should not be lost to Kenyans that the private sector should be the biggest employer. The sector is key to the growth of any country.

Without a robust private sector — growing in both size and returns on investment — Kenya is doomed to stagnate.

Many companies have set up shop in the country lately and more are coming, but we have to do much more to attract and retain firms to enable them grow jobs and the economy.

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Any investor exit should worry us all. This calls for pondering fundamentals that make doing business in our country difficult.

For instance, there are huge opportunities in the manufacturing and tourism sectors — which are big employers — but there are issues in the industries that need sorting out.

Indeed, there is potential for growth in all our economic sectors but there is need to tap opportunities.

Looking at the demographics one sees huge opportunities but also problems if we don’t accelerate development.

That is why crime has grown rapidly. Kenya should learn from what lack of proper governance and poverty have done to some neighbouring countries such as Somalia.

Harrison Mwirigi Ikunda, Nairobi