Blog Archive

Saturday, July 14, 2007

How to fix our economy... from my readers

Yes, I am (almost) back to regular blogging... and I am already encouraged by the responses/comments!

Credit for this post/ideas/comments goes to various readers & other bloggers:

Immediate Needs - which I reluctantly called "Short-term Fixes"

  • Rebuild Nbi-Msa Highway. It has been "almost competed" for almost 2 years! I fear the road will disintegrate after the major ("long") rains in 2008-9. Furthermore, we need 4 lanes not 2!
  • Create alternate routes around Nairobi/CBD to ease pressure off Uhuru Highway. Ultimately, what we need are Over-passes & By-passes through, over & outside the CBD.
  • We need a heavy presence of armed & undercover policemen in all major CBDs to encourage a 24-hour economy. Since CBDs are the "engines" thus let's start from there. We need to work in at least 2 shifts that run from 5am-9pm. This will encourage better utilisation of resources & infrastructure.
  • Use the death penalty, liberally. Many will disagree but robberies with violence should be dealt with severely. There is some "good" by eliminating pathological violent criminals from our society. Furthermore, there is an element of "deterrence".

Long-term Needs - But these need to be implemented soon

  • An expanded railway which includes new or ugraded tracks & additional destinations. I hope RVR is up to the task. So far their performance does not show much improvement but they inherited an almost "dead" firm. A huge plus is that the GOK actually received payments/concession fees from what was previously a sinkhole! Nevertheless, there seems to be some progress. It will take them 2 years to blossom into what was expected of them.
  • Move manufacturing from Nairobi further out towards Machakos & Ruiru/Thika. This needs the building of highways & rail lines that allow for easier movement of goods from these areas to & from Nairobi. Nairobi is too congested to remain an efficient manufacturing center. It is better suited as a distribution center.
  • Encourage industrial production in other towns closer to agricultural areas e.g. Eldoret, Kisumu, etc. This will ease the pressure on Nairobi/Central while opening newer markets while spreading the "wealth" to other regions.
  • Security needs to be beefed up & local registered merchant organisations should be supported in providing security. This creates safe zones for shoppers & businesses. Ultimately, these can be expanded to all parts of the country. Robberies with violence should be dealt with severely. The death penalty should be used liberally.
  • Nairobi can become the Financial Capital of East & Central Africa. Dubai has Mid-east covered while Joburg has southern Africa covered. The gap in the middle clearly "belongs" to Kenya. Rwanda is poised to fill this role if we dither.

None of the above will be easy but it needs to be done by the Private Sector who need to be given the freedom to do so. The government should play a supporting role but not act as a roadblock to these initiatives. Therein lies the rub!

Most of our current politicians are NOT up to the task! We need new leadership that is driven by economic interests not by dithering crooks & fools.

Sometimes...well, more often than sometimes... I think we should outsource our government to Singapore!!!


MainaT said...

The idea of encouraging economic activity outside coudl actually start by GoK moving some of its ministries from NBI. Agriculture should ideally be based in Nakuru; Trade and Industry in Mombasa; Lands-anywhere but NBI and so forth. Railway, I think we should have a tender for another company to do laying and maintainance of tracks leaving RVR with a 5yr renewable contract to get the business (goods and passengers)

Anonymous said...

moving activity from Nairobi to smaller towns is a terrible and expensive idea. Actaully i think we just need to improve the infrastructure in Nairobi. nairobi is not yet congested we just need better utilization of land - all the old estates of shauri moyo land mawe need to be replaced with high rises infact the current resident shoud be given free units as a concession to build high rise units.

to put things in prespective mosto greater seoul has like 50% of Koreas poluation. i think nstead of moving stuff we need better roads - in america the distance between nakuru and nairobi a regular commute.

yes we need to build better and wider roads we also need a highway to ethiopia - which we tend to ignore but ethiopia has a population of 80 million - yes 80 million like kenya uganda and tZ combined thats a potential huge market and its landlocked _ a highwya to ethiopia could do miracles for the meat and leather industries just to name a few things.

On politics what we need is political will - the free education thing was a demonstartion of political will. and imnot sure about leadership we have enough leaders what we need is service. we need servants of the people not leaders - we should be led by the law and not by men

Anonymous said...

we also need a coast highway like the pacific ooast highway in California
we also need an urban policy.

mwasjd said...

Urban railways gets my vote. Light trams that run every half hour btn CBD and outskirts (as far as Kiambu, Ruai, Thika, Limuru) could seriously lessen the number of mathrees and vehicles hence keeping the roads jam free.

Anonymous said...

I support the observation of Mwasjd but we need reliable electricity to maintain such. In Belgium such power is generated by Electrabel from Nuclear plants (mostly), wind etc. But they do have a policy of disposing the nuclear waste. In kenya the electricity generated from wind & solar is negligible. Perhaps when we will be policy makers we can have this in place read approx 20 years from today.

Anonymous said...

Mr ColdTusker Sir,
Credit to your blog as I just stumbled onto it and kusema kweli the rants, raves and reviews are great!!

Here’s my two minutes two cents worth contribution.
In my opinion; for those who have traveled and OBSERVED under-developed, developing and developing nations fixing the economy goes hand – in – hand with empowering the people. Truth be said, Kenya a small nation has some of the most lopsided form of development observed, (I do not even see the reason why we can not simply identify ourselves as East Africans) why? very sad wealth distribution.
Just as some of the comments I have read majority if not all mainly focus on the usual areas, Nairobi, Mombasa and Nakuru period. In my opinion that should NOT be accepted and you will pay the Heavy price.
We cannot delude ourselves in thinking that Kenya can compete with S.A. How many well developed Cities do you find in S.A??
Most countries develop ‘remote’ cities with the aim of keeping or raising populations in these cities; industry and infrastructure are the key in ensuring populace migration to these cities, why not move key industries to North Eastern? Or any strategic location with the view of distributing wealth and curb population in-flow to Nairobi…

A quick observation:
1- Why have reliable electricity when one cannot afford to pay for it?
2- Urban Railway? To where? Central Kenya? Come on we to look further than that.
3- I do not mean any disrespect to anyone, but the comment to the effect of “moving activity from Nairobi to smaller towns is terrible and expensive idea is next to absurd and I am at a loss of words. Nairobi is not congested? Last time I checked if one does not leave where less than 6% of Nairobians live there was extreme congestion, flying toilets, no running water, no elec, hakuna choo bwana
4- Free Education is a MYTH! your grand kids children will pay for today’s free education.

As a parting word, from Independence there has been no political will to economically empower the people.