President William Ruto campaigned on a platform of change and a lot of people believed in him. Now, he has an opportunity to make Kenya prosper just like Singapore and South Korea.
He must find new and better ways of doing things, focus on innovative ways of making the bottom-up vision more than a dream. The new administration must be different from the previous ones.
Harry Truman, the 33rd President of United States of America, once said: “In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for better.” President Ruto should break that circle and do things differently.
The biggest challenge facing Kenya today is unemployment and the only way to solve it is by attaining significant economic growth. To achieve high economic growth is not easy as it is a war that can only be won by those who have superior strategies and are mentally prepared to fight it out with other countries.
The starting point is the understanding that all the country’s aspirations, whether creation of wealth and employment, eradication of poverty and diseases or economic prosperity are hinged on economic growth.
Second, it is getting the answers to the “how” question, how will the country achieve economic growth, how will the government develop the right policies, plans, strategies and structures and how will the country compete with developed countries and their multinational companies?
As a country, we should debunk the economic theories and approaches being propagated by developed countries to keep developing countries poor. First, we should stop being fooled by other countries to treat them as development partners; these are competitors in the market place who are benefiting from us to grow their economies.
Second, we should reject the lie that development grants and loans, donations, all types of aid, and commercial infrastructure loans in exchange for imports from those countries is good for us. Imports without responding exports is exploiting and impoverishing.
Third, that governments are poor business managers especially in Africa and that they should leave business to the private sector and concentrate on governance.
Fourth, that a country’s development is measured by its infrastructure projects despite the burgeoning foreign borrowing. This is misleading because economic growth is brought by industrialisation and trade including commercialisation of agricultural production.
Finally, that economic models supported by IMF, World Bank and World Trade Organisation (WTO), including liberalisation of trade, floating currency regime and skewed trade agreements are good for poor countries. This is not true because developed countries want to dump their goods and services in poor countries thus denying our youth the much needed employment opportunities.
The government should develop a new sessional paper styled on the manner of sessional paper No. 10 of 1965 that focused on rapid economic development and social progress for all Kenyans.
→ Mr Ongiti is a Certified Public Accountant in public practice