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!!!