Economic growth and elections and moving the country forward

Elections
have been held in Kenya every five years since independence and therefore, last
week’s event should be viewed as a normal event. As the awareness of the impact
of elections in the country increases, so does the competition for elective positions.
It’s not a surprise therefore that a week ago, Kenyans turned out in large
numbers to exercise their constitutional right to vote. This was mostly
peaceful, for which Kenyans as a whole should be proud of.

However,
due to the intensity of the period up to the elections, political uncertainty was
high on election week. Thankfully, the situation has quickly gone back to
normal. Many businesses cautiously closed shop on election week leading to an
economic go-slow that is now picking up in the current week. Markedly, this is
expected during elections, but can be a major concern on economic growth if
prolonged.

It
is well noted that the uncertainty resulting from the political situations may
reduce investment and the speed of economic growth. Private investment may decline in the run up
to elections as investors weigh the risks of policy changes following the
outcome. Further, foreign direct investment may also decline as foreign investors
undertake a wait-and-see approach prior to injecting capital into an economy.

While
uncertainty of electoral outcomes is expected in every country, it is vital
that this does not translate to uncertainty to the overall political stability
of the nation. To ensure this, governments strive to foster the rule of law,
the creation of strong and stable institutions, efficient bureaucracy at the all
levels, low corruption and a climate that is business friendly. These
conditions are typical of a robust and mature country that not only inspires
confidence in the citizens, but also assures the investors of continuity.

It
is noted that Kenya is headed in the right direction despite the intensity
of the campaigns. The Constitution has largely been upheld supporting the
promise of peace and stability.

The
fulfilment of various election promises is based on positive economic growth. The
key focus is therefore on increasing economic growth, and the related job
creation. If the energy and creativity seen during the election period is shifted
to job and wealth creation, then we can reach over 10% growth rate targeted in
Vision 2030. To attain this, we need to focus on value addition of agricultural
produce, growing the industrial sector and making use of the infrastructure
such as the SGR and electricity connections that were developed over the last five years.

HF programme improves skills in construction

Kenya’s elections are just fine: The problem is with its politics