Opinion / Commentaries
Tuesday, 23 Aug 2016 15:57 EATtmatalanga@kenyafreepress.com
The launch of Vision 2030 came with pomp and high expectations. But alas, with only 13 years left to clock 2030 mark, it is increasingly becoming clear that the dream may not be realized.
The agenda of the ambitious paper was set to propel the country to great economic and social heights. The slow pace at which Vision 2030 flagship projects are being implemented sends wrong signals about the country's ability to realise the Vision. Many of projects are still at inception stages, and their financing is wrought wityh many unanswered questions.
Let’s give credit where it’s due, for starters it’s very commendable that some of the projects are almost done. But the very fact that some of the key projects in the vision 2030 plan are yet to commence overshadows the ones that have been completed. Projects such as the Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) which has seen several key partners fall out is without doubt expected to take more time than it was initially scheduled.
Countries such as Uganda, Tanzania are just examples of those who have left Kenya to sort out this project alone, while they seek cheaper options elsewhere.
One of the key aspects of the vision 2030 flagship projects was to establish Kenya as an independent nation and the East and Central Africa region at large as economic strongholds. This was expected to stir an influx of investors to the region due to the economic opportunities that would arise as a result. The region would then become economically viable and this would have contributed immensely to the region’s economic growth.
The standard gauge railway was one of the initial projects in the plan, but the very fact that it has been marred with allegations of corruption is very sad. As if that is not surprising land owners whose land the SGR passes through have not been well compensated. The officials in charge of the SGR project have become accustomed to playing hide and seek games with land owners. True Kenya is steadily growing economically, but keeping in mind that recent statistics have indicated Kenya lagging behind sub-Saharan Africa in poverty reduction as uneven wealth distribution widens the rich- poor gap.
Considering that poverty was one of the issues that led to the initiation of the Vision 2030 plan it is highly likely that we are going to do away with poverty any time soon.
The key aspect that might perhaps be the main hindrance to the fulfilment of the Vision 2030 is corruption. As I had mentioned earlier in the SGR project, corruption is a major challenge to any project. The fact that our very own judicial systems entertain impunity has led to a far more widening avenue for the vice to flourish.
Despite Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanding by an average of 4.8 per cent since 2000 according to the recent statistics on Kenya’s failure to reduce the rate of poverty, the additional wealth generation has benefited only a small section of the population leaving millions of low-income earners trapped in cycles of poverty. A new development index places Kenya fourth in the region in transforming the benefits of growth into wellbeing for citizens, despite the country’s economic and political clout.
Ethiopia is ranked top in the index that seeks to go beyond the use of GDP in measuring economic wellbeing, with Rwanda emerging second and Tanzania third. The rankings were presented in the latest edition of the Sustainable Economic Development Assessment index (SEDA), published by global think-tank Boston Consulting Group.
“Leaders around the world increasingly recognize that GDP alone cannot give a full picture of a country’s performance, as the wellbeing of the citizens is an even more important measure,” the study read in part. Large African economies like South Africa, Nigeria, Angola and Kenya scored poorly in transforming this wealth into improved wellbeing for their citizens, with smaller economies like Rwanda and Sierra Leone scoring higher in recent progress towards alleviating poverty.
The index defined wellbeing using three elements.
The first was economics, which gauged a country’s performance in generating balanced growth through income, economic stability and employment.
The second was investment in sectors like health, education and infrastructure that boosted economic growth and wellbeing.
The third was sustainability, which referred to environment and social inclusion measures that factored in indicators of income equality, civil society and governance.
Regardless of the statistics Kenya still has a lot to do in order to achieve vision 2030, issues of corruption ought to be given the relevance they deserve during court proceedings, the filth in our judicial system should be thoroughly cleaned and last but not least an equal sense of accountability and responsibility should be inculcated deep within the said officials in charge of the vision 2030.
Change is inevitable, the means and process through which the said change is initiated is what really counts. With 14 years left on the Vision 2030 calendar, it is never too late to finish a race. Remember the means so long as it is legal and does not infringe on the rights of citizens justifies the end.
Vision 2030 is still achievable so long as we focus on the key aspects that were the major factors considered when drafting the plan. Therefore, we will be guaranteed of a better future, a better life and ultimately a better economy not only for Kenya but also for the region at large.
Matalanga is a student of journalism at the East Africa School of Media Studies and an intern writer at the Kenya Free Press.