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Kenya picks lessons for future growth

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 17 – The government intends to use the lessons learnt from the Economic Recovery Strategy (ERS) for wealth creation to drive its long term development agenda, Vision 2030.

Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya said on Wednesday that the five-year ERS, which came to an end in June last year was a comprehensive policy that achieved impressive achievements in economic recovery and it should be emulated.

“Under the ERS period, the economic growth steadily increased from 0.5 percent in 2002 to 7.1 in 2007. The lessons we have learnt are vital for future performance,” he said.

His remarks come at a time when the realisation of the goals outlined in the Vision is under serious threat. Going by the 2008 GDP growth rate of 1.7 percent, many pundits have expressed doubts that the country will be able to achieve the 10 percent growth rate envisioned for the Medium Term Plan in 2012.

Mr Oparanya however pointed to the challenges such as high poverty and unemployment levels, declining economic growth and poor governance that preceded the preparation and implementation of the strategy, which was initially deemed ‘too ambitious’ in 2003 but was quick to highlight it success.

“There is no doubt that the ERS era marked the commencement of a new style in our way of doing things through policy planning, implementation and tracking,” he enthused.

This he explained was possible because most of the set targets such a growth rate of seven percent, were met.

He expressed confidence that despite the challenges being faced in the country, Kenya could achieve economic recovery and growth if it ensures a sound macro economic environment, well targeted resource allocation and dependence on domestic resources.

The Minister spoke during the launch of the end term review of the ERS, which among other measures reiterated that political will and stability are still key for the successful implementation of the economic blueprint.

There have been appeals to politicians to tone down their bickering and wrangling in the coalition government as this has been proven to have a negative effect on the economic performance of the country.

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The inclusion of the public in development issues and the monitoring and evaluation of programs’ performance were proposed as some of the measures needed to ensure accountability and transparency in the handling of public funds and affairs, he continued.

“My ministry will go all out to ensure that the right human and infrastructure needs required for this purpose are not only hired but reviewed continually to enable us perform better and become more accountable to Kenyans,” he said and challenged other ministries to follow suit.

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