Economy, Environment

Here are Four Ways Kenya Can Embrace Progress and Celebrate Success as We Forge a Sustainable Future

The Unit­ed Nations Envi­ron­ment Assem­bly (UNEA) recent­ly wrapped up its busi­ness in Nairo­bi, with Kenya once again play­ing a lead­ing role in glob­al envi­ron­men­tal dis­cus­sions and demon­strat­ing its com­mit­ment to the Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Goals. The sixth annu­al assem­bly focused specif­i­cal­ly on address­ing the triple plan­e­tary cri­sis of cli­mate change, nature and bio­di­ver­si­ty loss, plus pol­lu­tion and waste.

I believe that the res­o­lu­tions from this assem­bly, once applied with pas­sion by the par­tic­i­pat­ing states, have the poten­tial to shape the glob­al envi­ron­men­tal agen­da. This suc­cess­ful glob­al event high­light­ed Kenya’s poten­tial and its cru­cial role on the inter­na­tion­al stage. Mov­ing beyond the UNEA ses­sions and the com­plex lan­guage of mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism, sci­en­tif­ic process­es, polit­i­cal maneu­vers, and pluri­lat­er­al stake­hold­er engage­ment (which reminds me of Pas­tor Raphael Obe­go’s use of com­plex Eng­lish dur­ing prayers at the Homabay Invest­ment Con­fer­ence), the event also pro­vid­ed a chance to reflect on our own suc­cess­es and chal­lenges. This is what I have cho­sen to focus on in my arti­cle today, because we seem to be a nation that rarely cel­e­brates its successes.

As vast­ly report­ed, Kenya’s eco­nom­ic land­scape in 2023 has demon­strat­ed remark­able resilience, with real GDP growth accel­er­at­ing from 4.8% in 2022 to an esti­mat­ed 5% in 2023, despite fac­ing numer­ous chal­lenges. This growth was sig­nif­i­cant­ly sup­port­ed by the agri­cul­tur­al sec­tor’s rebound from severe drought con­di­tions, which helped ease infla­tion pres­sures. How­ev­er, this growth was not with­out its tri­als, as adverse weath­er con­di­tions sub­dued agri­cul­tur­al pro­duc­tion, tem­per­ing the over­all eco­nom­ic momen­tum gained post-pan­dem­ic. Despite these insta­bil­i­ties, the Kenyan spir­it of resilience shines through, illus­trat­ing four strate­gies by which our nation can con­sis­tent­ly over­come obstacles.

First, this eco­nom­ic poten­cy is large­ly due to the pri­vate sec­tor, which has been a dri­ving force behind Kenya’s suc­cess sto­ries, such as the rev­o­lu­tion­ary mobile bank­ing ser­vice M‑KOPA. The pri­vate sec­tor’s dynamism under­scores the need for a sup­port­ive eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy frame­work that facil­i­tates invest­ment and inno­va­tion, free from the encum­brances of bureau­crat­ic obstructions.

Sec­ond­ly, the polit­i­cal atmos­phere, too, has its major role in shap­ing eco­nom­ic for­tunes. The con­tin­u­ous cycle of polit­i­cal cam­paign­ing can damp­en the invest­ment atmos­phere, yet Pres­i­dent Ruto’s gov­ern­ment, has shown a com­mit­ment to improv­ing Kenya’s eco­nom­ic stand­ing. How­ev­er, I humbly sug­gest that the cur­rent admin­is­tra­tion’s efforts should to be com­mu­ni­cat­ed more effec­tive­ly to the pop­u­lace, since they are the ulti­mate ben­e­fi­cia­ries of these poli­cies. It’s a task that, if done well by every­one in their dock­et, could fur­ther solid­i­fy pub­lic sup­port and fos­ter a deep­er under­stand­ing of the government’s well-mean­ing ini­tia­tives while cre­at­ing nation­al unity.

Third­ly, in the intri­cate mosa­ic of Kenya’s social and polit­i­cal land­scape, the impor­tance of agen­da-based polit­i­cal par­ties can­not be over­stat­ed. These par­ties, how­ev­er young they may seem to be just like the Green Think­ing Action Par­ty (GTAP) where I am a stew­ard, pro­vide a valid struc­ture through which pro­gres­sive poli­cies can be for­mu­lat­ed and imple­ment­ed, steer­ing the nation towards a future defined by growth and pros­per­i­ty. This is a future where Kenya’s achieve­ments are cel­e­brat­ed by Kenyans them­selves, fos­ter­ing nation­al pride and inter­na­tion­al admi­ra­tion. This is where you inten­tion­al­ly check which polit­i­cal par­ty you belong to and what the par­ty stands for.

Fourth­ly, per­son­al respon­si­bil­i­ty stands as a cor­ner­stone in this vision. It’s the col­lec­tive actions of indi­vid­u­als that for­ti­fy the foun­da­tions of a nation. Each cit­i­zen’s engage­ment in socio-eco­nom­ic activ­i­ties, envi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­tion, and the demo­c­ra­t­ic process con­tributes to the nation’s tra­jec­to­ry towards great­ness. A case in point is the ‘plant your age’ cam­paign, where tree grow­ing is per­son­al­ized. We should each ask our­selves what spe­cif­ic actions we are tak­ing to bring about the change we wish to see.

Ulti­mate­ly, Kenya’s lead­er­ship in envi­ron­men­tal stew­ard­ship, exem­pli­fied by mind­bog­gling mile­stones achieved by our var­i­ous pres­i­dents over the time and host­ing of UNEA, sig­ni­fies our role in glob­al sus­tain­abil­i­ty. Our future is inter­twined with our envi­ron­men­tal and eco­nom­ic poli­cies. Cel­e­brat­ing our suc­cess­es attracts fur­ther progress. Embrac­ing chal­lenges pro­pels us toward a promis­ing future. Togeth­er, we can make Kenya a bea­con of sus­tain­able devel­op­ment. ‘Na fiti­na tuache!.’ Think green, Act green.

About Dr. Kalua Green

He is the Chief Stew­ard of Green Africa Group, a con­glom­er­ate that was envi­sioned in 1991 to con­nect, pro­duce and impact var­i­ous aspi­ra­tions of human­i­ty through Sus­tain­able Mobil­i­ty & Safe­ty Solu­tions, Eco­pre­neur­ship & Agribusi­ness, Ship­ping & Logis­tics, Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Ini­tia­tives, as well as Hos­pi­tal­i­ty & fur­nish­ings sectors

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