Implement county industrial hubs to unlock manufacturing potential

One of the key sectors capable of accelerating economic growth is manufacturing.

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One of the key sectors capable of accelerating economic growth is manufacturing. Any country aspiring to attain economic take-off must, therefore, place industrialisation at the centre of its strategic development plans.

Acknowledging this reality, Kenya has been persistently looking to rev up the sector that for years has been punching below its weight. However, a number of hurdles have stubbornly stood in the way.

The major challenges bogging down this critical sector include expensive electricity, unfriendly policies and lack of targeted incentives.

This set of hurdles has reduced the sector’s contribution to GDP from about 10 percent in 2014 to less than eight percent today.

Thankfully, there is a road map to jumpstart the sector and drive it out of the morass in which it is stuck.

Kenya looks to increase the sector’s GDP’s contribution from the measly eight percent to at least 15 percent by 2027, before pushing it up to 20 percent by 2030. This is ambitious.

It is encouraging to see that Kenya is beginning to put in place strategies that if implemented well will revitalise the manufacturing sector.

One is to enhance creation of economic zones where local and multination firms can set up manufacturing and assembly plants. Another strategy is creation of county aggregation and industrialisation parks that are meant to encourage and entrench entrepreneurship culture which can then spark industrialisation right from the grassroots.

‘Democratising’ industrialisation through establishment of the right infrastructure in every corner of the country is a sure-footed approach to delivering inclusive economic growth that will lift all the boats including those of the ‘hustlers’.

These parks will spur creation of cottage industries that can be nurtured into manufacturing giants.

With these county parks and special economic zones, Kenya is on the right path to unlocking the potential of manufacturing.

It is imperative for the country to draw a clear and solid road map on how to match the energy needs and supply. Transitioning fully to green energy and attaining rapid industrialisation growth are not mutually exclusive goals. Embracing new technologies such as nuclear will enable us to stave off the risk of missing the 100 percent transition target set for 2030.

The writer is CEO, Nuclear Power and Energy Agency

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