NEW York, USA, Sep 26 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has said Kenya is making good progress towards the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The President said the country has fully aligned its national development strategies including the Vision 2030 with SDGs.
The President who spoke during a leaders dialogue on accelerating the implementation of SDGs on Wednesday, however, called for more partnerships and support especially from the private sector and development partners for faster realization of the 17 global development goals.
“Although Kenya’s projectile is overall positive, sustained support from the international community and private sector is essential to Kenya’s realization of the SDGs,” he said.
The President who took the audience through some of the milestones made by Kenya in education and other sectors said by 2015 when SDGs were launched, the country had achieved free and universal primary education.
“My administration has taken these gains further by guaranteeing free secondary education for day scholars. We have seen a 100 percent transition from primary to secondary school,” President Kenyatta said.
On poverty eradication, the President said Kenya’s economic growth has been robust over the period over the last eight years, averaging 5.9 percent annually.
The steady growth, he said, has lowered the number of people living under one US dollar per day from 46 to 36 percent over the period.
“Although these gains are encouraging, at 36%, this is not acceptable, my administration remains committed to having a nation that envisions a people of prosperity,” the President said.
The Kenyan leader said the Big 4 Agenda focus areas of food and nutrition security, Universal Health Coverage (UHC), affordable housing and manufacturing are tailored to address most of the SDGs.
At the core of Kenya’s UHC model, currently in the pilot phase, President Kenyatta said is an insurance cover that will guarantee access for all persons to a health benefits package that prioritizes primary health care interventions.
He said the health insurance cover will contribute to the poverty alleviation agenda by lifting a substantial financial burden from households.
On housing and the SDG agenda on sustainable cities and communities, the President said Kenya has a housing gap of 250,000 units which is largely in the lower segment of the market.
Alongside the ambitious plan to deliver half a million affordable houses in five years, therefore, President Kenyatta said his administration continues to upgrade slums and informal settlements through a low-cost housing plan that includes provision of clean water, improved sanitation, health centers and other supporting infrastructure.
President Kenyatta who noted that over 19 million Kenyans lack access to safe water said his administration has increased investments in the water sector in recent years.
“My administration is investing heavily in the water sector through the construction of dams and water pans, promoting greater water harvesting and raising infrastructure bonds to increase infrastructure for water and sanitation,” he said.
Alongside increased investments in key sectors through partnerships, the Kenyan Head of State said his administration is accelerating the process towards attainment of SDGs through public participation and ownership of development projects.
“Kenya is accelerating progress towards SDGs through fostering ownership and participation especially by women and youth,” the President said.
While expressing his gratitude for the Global Pilot Programme on Science, Technology and Innovation (ST&I) Roadmaps for SDGs in which Kenya is a beneficiary, President Kenyatta called on world leaders to prioritize global knowledge sharing, capacity building, science, appropriate technology and innovation as accelerators of SDGs.
Earlier, President Kenyatta held bilateral talks with David Malpass, the President of the World Bank on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Mr Malpass briefed President Kenyatta on the reforms being implemented by the Bretton Woods institution to make it more responsive to the needs of developing countries.
The World Bank boss assured the President of his institution’s commitment to continue supporting Kenya’s development agenda.