Do Not Rely Too Much On Agriculture, Says Kibaki
(AllAfrica Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) RETIRED President Mwai Kibaki has said the national economic blueprint Vision 2030 has set a new benchmark for Kenya's take-off into a modern society. Kibaki said the discovery of minerals in several parts of the country gives Kenya the chance to become the top exemplary player in Africa.
He was speaking yesterday during a public lecture at the University of Nairobi's Taifa Hall which is part of the festivities to mark 50 years of independence. The lecture was titled Kenya @ 50: Of Hindsight, Insight and Foresight Reflections on the State of the Nation which traced the development of the Kenyan state from independence in 1963.
Kibaki regretted that high interest rates remain a disincentive to long-term investments especially in processing and manufacturing. He said over-reliance on agriculture still obstructs industrial and economic takeoff. "Our fortunes as a country can only multiply if a lot more thought and focus are spared for industrialisation and technological development in our country," Kibaki said.
Kibaki said post independence leadership has done what has been within its "ability and reach" in regard to getting Kenyans to the Promised Land but admitted a lot still remains undone. "It is important to remember that most of the achievements recorded in the last 50 years are a product of the labour, diligence and goodwill of millions of Kenyans," Kibaki said.
Kibaki reminded the citizens that they owe this country the duty to ensure that the poverty is effectively dealt with and eventually eradicated. "We owe our country the commitment to expunge the inequality that threatens to divide us. These we owe our people even as we seek the best ways of accessing and using our resources for the greater good of all."
He said Kenyans must use the recently built and upcoming infrastructures to accelerate mass production of goods and services to the local and global market. "We must encourage our people to make money and use it to expand production and improve the living standards for all."
"My hope is that each of us will play their part fully and faithfully especially in the area of creating both jobs and wealth, be it with and from our natural or imported resources. He challenged Kenyans to embrace innovation, especially in industrial technology on a national scale in order to up our ante in our endeavour to transform our country.
He said the discovery of oil, iron, coal and natural gas in various parts of the country in recent years adds to the ready-made fact and reality of a greater future within accessible horizons. "This is the inclusive prosperity agenda that we must pursue as a nation far into the second half-century of Kenya's Independence," he said.
One of the ways forward, Kibaki said, is the eagerly-awaited completion of the LAPPSET project, Kenya's biggest infrastructural undertaking ever. "The completion of this giant project will increase trade between Kenya and her neighbours and in particular Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda."
The former president said the ICT take-up has been great in Kenya, particularly in mobile telephony and Internet use. He said M-Pesa mobile money system was incubated, tested, tried and given flying colours in Kenya, on behalf of the whole world. This facility has lifted millions out of poverty and made tens of thousands of previously unbanked Kenyans bankable.
The laying of fibre-optic cables has, in the meantime, no doubt, taken Kenya to the frontlines of the digital era Knowledge Economy. "Kenya became the first African country to install an Open Government Portal, where millions of official documents from all eras of our history are now accessible to citizens and a host of inquirers and researchers within and without our borders."
Moreover, discipline and accountability in public service were emphasized and a system of incentives as well as measurable benchmarks and deliverables introduced
Copyright The Star. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).
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