BY UHURU KENYATTA
1. Today, for the second time, and in line with my constitutional obligation, I address this special sitting of Parliament, to outline the State of the Nation in relation to our values and principles of governance, as elaborated in Article 10; the state of our nation’s security, as provided for in Article 240; and our status in fulfilling our international treaty obligations, under Article 132 of our constitution.
2. As we approach my second anniversary as President, I am pleased to report that the state of our Nation is strong. Our economy is growing robustly. Our nation is more secure, and our place in the community of nations is respected.
3. In the year under review, we, as a nation, have continued to deepen our democracy and the Rule of Law. Public participation in governance has grown at all levels, while institutional measures to secure the basic rights and freedoms of our people continue to take root. The year has been laced with robust debates, and sometimes even strong differences of opinion, between and within various levels and arms of government. This is a profound reaffirmation of our democratic ideals.
4. Nonetheless, exercising these rights and privileges demands from each one of us, particularly us leaders, to remain conscious of our patriotic duty to nurture a united nation.
5. In 2014, Kenya rebased its economy and is now the 9th largest economy on the African continent. With a GDP of USD 53.3 billion with GDP per capita at USD 1,246, Kenya has attained middle-income status. We are also one of the African economies that can boast a diversified and balanced economy.
6. Today, Kenya is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Despite sluggish global growth, our economy is steadily expanding at 6 percent, consolidating our position as the largest non-mineral driven economy in Sub-Saharan Africa. We are also making significant progress in the oil, gas and minerals sectors. Following the establishment of a dedicated mining ministry, our royalties have sharply increased from 21 million shillings in 2012, to an expected 1.2 billion this financial year. This on-going economic transformation is drawing attention globally.
7. Last month, a prominent international publication singled Kenya out as one of seven outstanding emerging markets worth investing in. Earlier this month, of the 57 fastest-growing economies ranked by Bloomberg, Kenya was the third fastest growing economy behind China and the Philippines. Additionally, Ernst and Young’s Attractiveness Survey for Africa for 2014 placed Kenya among the three top investment destinations in Sub Saharan Africa, and the most preferred in East and Central Africa. A combination of the government’s pro-growth economic policies, a growing middle class, and an educated and skilled workforce has steered Kenya into the ranks of the top emerging market destinations for investment.
8. Inflation has been contained at single digits, capping the prices of basic goods for Kenyans. Interest rates are falling, allowing Kenyans to access credit for their businesses, homes and farms. The exchange rate is stable and the public debt sustainable, reflecting my administration’s sound fiscal and monetary management. Furthermore, the implementation of programmes and projects that drive our growth are proceeding apace.
9. We have made significant progress in the energy sector. Since March 2013, we have added 514.9 megawatts of electricity to our national grid, to make available a total of 2,125 megawatts. This represents a 31% growth in total generation capacity. A substantial component of the new additional capacity is geothermal, a clean energy source that increases our resilience to the volatility associated with weather and oil prices. Kenya is now the world’s eighth largest geo-thermal producer with a steam power capacity of 579 megawatts. Notably, our power generation mix is overwhelmingly green, positioning us among the global leaders when it comes to the nexus between climate change and sustainable development. This is especially appropriate given our hosting of the United Nations Environment Programme, the world’s leading environmental agency. I call upon all Kenyans to embrace the promise of green energy for sustainable development.
10. Greater supply of electricity has translated into an average reduction in consumer bills by 25% in the period between August 2014 and February 2015. Costs of electricity to industry have also fallen, making the country a more competitive location for the manufacturing sector.
11. The total number of users connected to electricity grew by over 41% between March 2013 and today, raising the customer base to 3,150,000 Kenyans. This translates to an increase in the national electrification rate from 26% to 37%. In the last three months of this year alone, we have connected 385,000 Kenyans and are targeting a record 1 million by the end of December 2015, more than double the connections last year.
12. Across the country, businesses, large and small, are expanding, creating employment and prosperity. As Government meets its end of the bargain in providing cheaper power, it is my expectation that businesses will pass on these savings to the Kenyan consumer.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
13. When I took office, I pledged to connect all public primary schools to electricity within two years. At the time, only 8,200 out of 21,500 schools had been connected. As I speak today, a total of 18,424 schools have been connected. The remaining 3,076 schools will be done by the end of next month. Ladies and Gentlemen, in the last two years, more primary schools have been connected to electricity than have been since independence.
14. The provision of power further accelerates the already rapid penetration of Internet connectivity, linking our people to knowledge and far-off opportunities. A total of Kenya shillings 1.2 billion has been transferred to 21,458 schools for construction of ICT Hardware storage rooms, and more than 2,500 teachers have undergone ICT training. This action will provide a qualified workforce that guarantees the swift rollout of the Laptop Project.
15. We continue to implement free primary school education, which offers a ladder for our children to obtain employable skills and allow them to become active citizens. To extend this fundamental promise of opportunity to all, the Jubilee Government scrapped examination fees and capped school fees for secondary schools. We have also increased budgetary allocation from 30 billion shillings in 2013/14 to 40 billion this year, with the objective of rolling out free and compulsory primary and secondary school education in the next 5 years.