The economic pillar of Kenya Vision 2030 seeks to improve the lives of all Kenyans by achieving a 10 per cent gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate.
The realisation of true economic growth and transformation lies in the ability of citizens to sustain their families by being in a position to provide basic needs with ease. But should the government not wake up to the call, the vision, seven years away, could remain unfulfilled.
Agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and trade—among the six priority sectors—have in the past three years not done well. IMF research shows Kenya, the third-largest Sub-Saharan African economy, may be relegated to fifth by Angola and Ethiopia.
The slow economic growth is fuelled by factors led by inflation, drought, Covid-19, over-reliance on imports and global supply chain disruption by the Russia-Ukraine war. IMF projects Kenya to record slower growth, at 2.4 per cent, with a GDP of $117.6 billion, behind Nigeria, South Africa, Angola and Ethiopia.
Agriculture, our economic mainstay, being almost entirely rain-fed is the weakest cog, what with the prolonged drought that saw most people laid off in the sector, leading to higher unemployment, reduced production and declining purchasing power.
The government can turn around the economy by addressing critical issues such as job creation and lowering the cost of living. For instance, agriculture can be revived through policies that will bring most of the arable land under irrigation and subsidise production in totality. Then, we will produce enough food for consumption and export.
Being a net exporter will create jobs and pull millions of people out of poverty. We must get the basics right—from policy formation to implementation.
Mr Were is a communication and media technology student at Maseno University. [email protected]