By Decem­ber 2020, only 26,971 Kenyans had man­aged to secure mort­gage loans in the course of that year. This was revealed in the Cen­tral Bank of Kenya’s Res­i­den­tial Mort­gage Mar­ket Sur­vey 2021. Although these mort­gage loans increased in 2021 to approx­i­mate­ly 40,000 they are still a drop in the ocean.

Con­sid­er­ing that approx­i­mate­ly 15 mil­lion Kenyans are over the age of 35 years old, there are mil­lions of Kenyans who should be able to afford mort­gages. The fact that the over­whelm­ing major­i­ty of work­ing Kenyans can­not even afford these loans says a lot about the wealth dis­tri­b­u­tion in our country.

Accord­ing to Oxfam, less than 0.1% of Kenya’s pop­u­la­tion own more wealth than the bot­tom 99.9%. This means that approx­i­mate­ly 8,300 Kenyans own more wealth than at least 44 mil­lion Kenyans. Along a sim­i­lar vein, the rich­est 10% of Kenyans earn about 23 times more than the poor­est 10%. Due to these glar­ing finan­cial dis­par­i­ties, Kenya’s super rich are grow­ing rich­er at a rate that is one of the fastest in the world. Evi­dent­ly, Kenya is now one of the most eco­nom­i­cal­ly unequal coun­tries in the world.

How did we arrive here? More impor­tant­ly, how can we flee from this unfor­tu­nate predica­ment? We can start by uproot­ing corruption.

Cor­rup­tion rips apart the pock­ets of Kenyans and siphons mon­ey from there into the greedy hands of a few cor­rupt indi­vid­u­als. That’s because we lose one third of our nation­al bud­get through cor­rup­tion. This shock­ing infor­ma­tion was revealed back in 2010 Decem­ber by Trea­sury offi­cials that were tes­ti­fy­ing before a par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee. This fig­ure was cor­rob­o­rat­ed six years lat­er in 2016 by none oth­er than Philip Kin­isu, the then Ethics and Anti-Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion Chairman.

This year’s bud­get was Shs3.3 Tril­lion while the 2021/2022 bud­get was Shs.3 Tril­lion. If we lost one third of the funds in any of these bud­gets, we would have lost Shs1 Tril­lion. Since the SGR cost rough­ly Shs420 bil­lion, an amount of Shs1 Tril­lion can build an SGR of more than 1,000 kilo­me­ters. If you add up lost Tril­lions from pre­vi­ous years, you will end up with enough mon­ey to build an express­way from Busia to Mom­basa. Think of what such an infra­struc­tur­al leap would do to the econ­o­my of our country.

Tack­ling cor­rup­tion will free up bil­lions that can be used for all man­ner of infra­struc­tur­al projects that will fur­ther open the country’s inte­ri­or so that eco­nom­ic growth can be inclu­sive of all Kenyans. Sev­en out of ten Kenyans live in rur­al areas. Accord­ing to the World Bank, most poor peo­ple live in these rur­al areas. They are the ones that must par­take of the wealth that is being cre­at­ed in this coun­try. The wealth that is cur­rent­ly most­ly con­fined amongst the 8,300 Kenyans who own more wealth than the bot­tom 99.9%.

While our major urban cen­ters like Nairo­bi, Mom­basa, Kisumu and Naku­ru are not as poor as rur­al areas, they are also home to mil­lions of poor peo­ple. In 2020, the Kenya Nation­al Bureau of Sta­tis­tics released the first ever com­pre­hen­sive pover­ty report. Accord­ing to the Report, near­ly 16 mil­lion Kenyans were liv­ing in pover­ty. The report described pover­ty as an adult earn­ing less than Sh3,252 in rur­al areas and Sh5,995 month­ly in urban areas. This should con­vince us all about the glar­ing unequal wealth dis­tri­b­u­tion in our country.

In order to emerge suc­cess­ful­ly from this trag­ic inequal­i­ty, we must take imme­di­ate, strate­gic steps. The first step is to vote wise­ly. As Jack­son Mati said, ‘Noth­ing goes wrong, it can only start wrong”. The moment we elect the wrong lead­ers, we should not look sur­prised by the obvi­ous results. If we elect eth­i­cal and effec­tive lead­ers with polit­i­cal will to expend those Tril­lions in a pro­fes­sion­al and just man­ner, then Kenya’s wealth will be shared equal­ly across the country.

More impor­tant­ly, Kenyan entre­pre­neurs of all lev­els must ensure that their voic­es are heard, not just through their vote but also through their estab­lish­ments. They must con­tin­ue agi­tat­ing for a tan­gi­ble eco­nom­ic growth path­way that trans­forms com­mu­ni­ties. 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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