Ideas & Debate

Why Kenya’s future lies in rethinking the growth path

Small business owners at a Family Bank Business Club meeting. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Small business owners at a Family Bank Business Club meeting. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya’s growth plans present an interesting puzzle. Despite our widely acknowledged growth potential, successive five-year Medium Term Plans (MTPs) based on Vision 2030 have missed the targets.

Gross domestic product (GDP) annual growth target of 10 per cent on average has been missed, even with MTP targets set lower than the Vision 2030 targets.

The First MTP (2008 –2012) set the GDP target at 8.66 per cent and reached less than half that — 4.18 per cent on average. With investment set at 27 per cent of GDP, it reached only 20 per cent on average. Even the preceding Economic Recovery Strategy (ERS) of 2003-2007 achieved GDP growth from 2.9 per cent in 2003 to 7.1 per cent in 2007. You guessed it; the just-ended second MTP (2013-2017) returned the symptomatic disappointments.

Officials planning the third MTP 2018-2022 (that will coincide with the President’s last term) invoke anything but accountability or competences.
They cite instead the usual suspects: drought, poor absorptive capacity, etc.