There is noth­ing new under the sun. This scrip­ture in Eccle­si­astes 1:9 con­tains a pow­er­ful les­son for lead­ers. Vir­tu­al­ly every­thing that lead­ers promise has already been promised before. Even more telling, many of these promis­es have already been imple­ment­ed some­where. With the glob­al Cli­mate Change cri­sis, the pow­er of lead­er­ship doesn’t lie in the abil­i­ty to make lofty promis­es but rather in keep­ing those promis­es. When lead­ers fail to keep their word, trust is shattered.

As politi­cians make a litany of promis­es in the ongo­ing cam­paigns, I choose to remind us that the biggest promise that must be upheld is the con­sti­tu­tion. Cap­tured in the constitution’s first arti­cle is the sov­er­eign­ty of the peo­ple. As such, ser­vant lead­er­ship that is built on trust is a con­sti­tu­tion­al mega requirement.

Politi­cians must also rec­og­nize that Kenya already has a devel­op­ment blue­print that took mil­lions of shillings and thou­sands of hours to devel­op. Vir­tu­al­ly all the promis­es being dished out in cam­paigns are cov­ered in Vision 2030. Indeed, the Kenya Vision 2030 is a vehi­cle for accel­er­at­ing trans­for­ma­tion of our coun­try into a rapid­ly indus­tri­al­iz­ing mid­dle-income nation by the year 2030. Kenya has been ranked as a low­er mid­dle-income coun­try since 2014. How­ev­er, we are yet to break into upper mid­dle-income economies. Accord­ing to the World Bank, these are the ones with a Gross Nation­al Income (GNI) of per capi­ta between $4,046 (473,786) and $12,535 (1,467,848). Against this sce­nario, our pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates must demon­strate to Kenyans how they will lead the coun­try to upper mid­dle-income sta­tus before 2030.

Kenya is already Africa’s sixth largest econ­o­my. This means that we are on the right tra­jec­to­ry. We have a lot going for us. First­ly, Kenya’s blue econ­o­my remains large­ly untapped. Accord­ing to Kenya Marine and Fish­eries Research Insti­tute (Kem­fri), we har­vest less than 10 per cent of fish in our coastal exclu­sive eco­nom­ic zone. You will rarely hear lead­ers offer prac­ti­cal solu­tions for har­vest­ing more fish at the coast. It doesn’t take a genius to know that if we har­vest more fish from our ocean, the coastal econ­o­my in par­tic­u­lar and the country’s econ­o­my as a whole will ben­e­fit immense­ly. The leader who will tap ful­ly into this immense blue econ­o­my poten­tial will earn the trust of Kenyans.

North­ern Kenya may not have fish but it def­i­nite­ly has live­stock. Accord­ing to the Inter­na­tion­al Live­stock Research Insti­tute (ILRI), Kenya’s live­stock sec­tor con­tributes about 12 per cent to the nation­al Gross Domes­tic Prod­uct (GDP) and 42 per cent to agri­cul­tur­al GDP. This is unsur­pris­ing since Kenya has the sec­ond-largest live­stock reserves in Africa. How­ev­er, our coun­try is a high net importer of meat. Con­se­quent­ly, we ship live­stock jobs to for­eign coun­tries every time we import meat. It doesn’t take a genius to know that if we revamp the live­stock sec­tor so that we become a net exporter of meat, we shall revamp north­ern Kenya’s econ­o­my and boost the nation­al econ­o­my in the process.

Fur­ther down in the west­ern part of Kenya, Africa’s largest fresh­wa­ter lake siz­zles with eco­nom­ic oppor­tu­ni­ties. The Lake Vic­to­ria Trans­port infra­struc­ture can gen­er­ate up $60 bil­lion worth of trade annu­al­ly for Kenya, Ugan­da and Tan­za­nia. Cur­rent­ly, it is gen­er­at­ing only $6 bil­lion. It doesn’t take a genius to know that full devel­op­ment of Lake Victoria’s trans­port infra­struc­ture will gal­va­nize East Africa’s lake­side economies. Prag­mat­ic lead­er­ship will deliv­er these bil­lions and engen­der trust amongst the electorate.

Final­ly, experts and devel­op­ment agen­cies have doc­u­ment­ed trade oppor­tu­ni­ties that already exist for every cor­ner of the coun­try to tap into. Stan­dard Char­tered revealed in a research report ear­li­er this year that Kenya’s exports will grow by over Sh1.1 tril­lion by 2030. We must there­fore increase local man­u­fac­ture. That is some­thing that we have talked about for decades. Kenyans are not look­ing for genius­es or dra­mat­ic set of front-run­ners to elect, they sim­ply need can­di­dates they can trust.  A demon­stra­tive flaw­less devel­op­ment agen­da encap­su­lat­ed in trust does it. 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


1 Comment. Leave new

  • I agree we need a leader we can trust to move Kenya in the right direction.
    The One Coun­ty One prod­uct you advo­cate for will help Kenyans’ cost of liv­ing to become bear­able as we strive towards resilient livelihoods.


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