Government should own development agenda
22 December 2014, 14:32
Nairobi - Africa has been marked as the growth destination of the world. War and diseases might have eaten through the vast lands, but the 21st century has come with blessings for the continent that was once nicknamed 'the black continent'.
With these blessings come responsibilities. Countries found on the African continent have responsibilities they should adhere to. For the success of the continent to be realized, countries must play their individualistic roles as well as regional and continental roles.
Kenya is one of the few countries that sits high up the ladder of developing nations. Recently, the government did a re-evaluation of the country's GDP and to the amazement of many, Kenya fell in the bracket of developing nations. That means we are in the categories of Brazil, India, South Africa and even China.
However, the GDP value does not translate to good living standards for all citizens in the country. It does not translate to equality and proper distribution of wealth. The good GDP value does not translate into proper health systems, improved security, better education standards, improved infrastructure or even better basic pay for labourers.
As we exit 2014 and embrace 2015, there are a number of things that should be put into consideration.
Government should sit down and establish mechanisms that can help the country reflect the exemplary GDP value. Chinese investors have set up shop in the country ready to help us develop infrastructure; Europeans are here to help is extraction of minerals and other valuables; Americans are here to improve our security; Russians want to come in and help us discover new oil and gas reserves.
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Everyone wants to help but we should know better; it always comes at a cost.
Our country is well endowed with human resources and innovative minds that can do marvelous things.
Every nation that has emerged as a force to reckon with has done it on its own efforts with little or no assistance from outside.
America was built by slaves but those very slaves now have their grandsons and great grandchildren in high offices within government.
Europe was built by the Europeans who took time to toil and labour in farms, laboratories, military camps and government.
China was built by the Chinese with no assistance from outside whatsoever.
Looking at all these examples, Kenya ought to learn something. We need to take charge of our own development agenda.
Expertise might not be available in abundance but that is why consultants exist. Handing over major projects to outsiders will leave us with a huge gap when they exit. We will be unable to run the projects but even if we do, we won't be able to advance the existing technology.
In order for Kenya to set the pace for East Africa and the rest of the continent, it needs to take charge of its development agenda.
There is need for us as a country to understand what we are building, manufacturing, producing or mining so we can look for ways to sustain it.
The British build this great nation with the hands and sweat of its natives but when they left, we were incapable of sustaining it even though we had graduates from Makerere University and beyond.
We should learn from our past. There is need to take charge and control our development even if it means losing some partners.
We ought to run the show if we intend to lead this continent to greater heights. Government should see to it that citizens understand what is being built, manufactured, mined, processed, extracted and more so how all is being done.
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