In all fairness, as Kenya inaugurates the next president today, it is only noble to say thank you to President Mwai Kibaki for a job well done in steering the ship for the last 10 years.
As the new President takes over the mantle he should just know that he has big shoes to fit in and industry is expecting the incumbent to hit the ground running and keep up the momentum from where President Kibaki left. During President Kibaki’s tenure there was remarkable growth in turnover for the country, precisely three fold growth from Sh1 trillion to Sh3.2 trillion. Industry expects the next president to surpass the record that has already been set.
Kenya currently has a health system that it can boast of despite the few hiccups that the sector faces from time to time. As the silicon savanna, President Kibaki created an enabling environment for innovation and creativity to flow resulting in the country pioneering a first in the world in mobile money transfers and access to money for the unbanked in the whole country.
There has been a diversification of markets for Kenyan products from a heavy reliance on European markets to increased trade among African countries owing to the various trade agreements that were championed by President Kibaki’s regime. This has enabled Kenya to export three times more than the country did 10 years ago. The nation also increased value addition of its products which are exported to new markets compared to the raw products that we traditionally sold.
Infrastructure has been vastly improved with the rehabilitation of major roads such as the Thika Super Highway.
Major strides have also been registered in the agriculture system. Kenyan tea and coffee exports soared in the last 10 years under President Kibaki’s administration. To top it up President Kibaki ends his tenure with a single digit figure for inflation and a somewhat stable rate for the shilling.
For the incoming President, the populace at large expects a lot because from President Kibaki’s reign we have witnessed that it is possible to have a better economy in Kenya. The country is endowed with a lot of resources and Kenya needs to fully exploit these. Oil discovered in Kenya could bring a lot of good fortunes for the country but if mismanaged it could turn into a curse. The country cannot afford to have a good resource turn to bad omen.
The devolved system is here with us as well and there is no reverse gear for implementation of any part of our constitution. So Kenya has to prove its prowess in managing the various structures of government.
There are a lot of challenges that have not been resolved such as non tariff barriers to trade, improved security, environmental conservation, support for innovation and technology development, reduction of corruption in the fight against corruption, improvement of the transport system, energy supply, employment and regulation that promote increased production.
President Kibaki has bequeathed Kenyans with a legacy which may be passed on from generation to generation. As all eyes are set on the new Government, industry is ready to celebrate the milestone achievement of a peaceful election held after the promulgation of the new constitution by boosting productivity. It is imperative for leaders to know that with each vote comes a lot of responsibility and the nation will expect the incoming Government to deliver exceptional results.
The writer is the chief executive of Kenya Association of Manufacturers and can be reached on [email protected]