- December 27, 2018
- Posted by: p mulee
Kenya entered the year 2018 against the backdrop of crucial events, some that posed a great threat to national peace and economic growth while others aimed at promoting progress. We have outlined them below.
Hate it or love it, the peace deal between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga became the defining moment.
The truce reached on March 9 ended the political tension that was caused by the contentious August 8 General Election, which saw tens of people killed and property destroyed in various parts of the country.
The ‘handshake’ helped rally Kenyansas it received acclamation from citizens and leaders. Nevertheless, it has put a strain on the President’s Jubilee Party – because Deputy President William Ruto’s supporters believe Mr Odinga wants to sabotage his presidential ambitions.
Despite a slump in GDP growth – from 5.8 percent in 2016 to 4.8 percent in 2017 – Kenya’s economy still has a bright future.
According to a 2018 World Bank data on poverty rates, at least 17.3 million Kenyans still live on less than Sh92.4 per day. “The moderately robust GDP growth over the past decade has not generated consummate increases in household consumption,” the report says.
This year has been occasioned by high food, medical and energy costs.
As per the Kenya Economic update, the country’s poverty incidence is amongst the lowest in East Africa and is lower than the Sub-Saharan African regional average.
Also, the public debt is soaring, forcing the government to roll back development expenditure. The debt now stands at Sh4.8 trillion as unemployment continues to nag the national government.
Auditor–General Edward Ouko warned in June: “If we don’t watch out, corruption will engulf us.” As major scandals persist, Mr Kenyatta is waging a war on the scam.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and Directorate of Criminal Investigations have prosecuted individuals accused of corruption.
They include staff from the National Cereals and Produce Board, Government Advertising Agency, National Hospital Insurance Fund, Kenya Pipeline Company, Kenya Railways Corporation, Kenya Ports Authority, National Youth Service and Kenya Power.
In July 2018, EACC director of field services Vincent Okong’o said corruption had raised the cost of doing business in Kenya.
BIG FOUR AGENDA
Kenya’s socio-economic blueprint launched by Mr Kenyatta has bought Kenyans hope as it seeks to improve food insecurity, housing, manufacturing sector and healthcare.
The National Housing Corporation says the cumulative housing deficit has been caused by rapid population growth. To cater to the bulging number, the government is planning to build one million homes in the next five years.
It has already launched the pilot project of the Universal Healthcare Coverage that aims to provide quality and affordable services to citizens. The pilot project that targets residents of Kisumu, Nyeri, Machakos and Isiolo counties was rolled out this month.
Patients have been complaining of high cost of services that have caused the death of some.
About 75 percent of Kenyans are under 30 years of age, with a majority being unemployed. Experts have advised the government to tap into the potential of this group to shore up socio-economic growth.
The World Bank estimates that approximately 800,000 Kenyans join the labour market each year, and only 50,000 succeed in getting jobs in the formal sector.
Nonetheless, the government has made attempts to improve the youths’ financial stability by establishing schemes such as Uwezo Fund, through which they can get loans to start business.