19 April 2014

Kenya: Need to Focus On Economic Growth

Kenya is ripe for socio-economic transformation, but the country leaders are throwing the country deeper and deeper into debt and creating chronically uneven development.

The abuse of state power by vested interests has been as essential a feature in the last fifty years of the country economic development. The abuse of state power by special interests has been systematic and destructive as democratic structures had been subverted by powerful elites.

In the past, genocidal kleptomaniacs have used the government machine to loot national resources, while providing nationalistic lip service to Kenyans.

The hypocritical foundation for misrule set by elite consisting of politicians, bankers, government bureaucrats, and generals without regard for the poor and marginalized.

Kenya economic is set for take-off if our leaders could be focusing towards national development. In this century fierce global competition for resources and markets is the norm.

Look at what is happening between Western countries and Russia concerning Ukraine and consider what China is doing to Africa. It is not only stealing natural resources, but raping the continent with the consent of African rulers.

The logic and framework of Chinese economic policy require the repression of democratic rights. This is because their policy demands authoritarian rule and economic exploitation, which cannot help, but raise very strong reactions from the public that must be subdued.

Today, former bastion of stability such as telecommunication companies and banks are hotbeds of competition. State-run enterprises were either privatized, being privatized and on their way to extinction.

The rate of technological change continues to increase geometrically, while markets expect new products and services - 50% of the services offered by banks today didn't exist in 1990s.

Assertive customers are demanding consummate, perfect, exemplary and excellent quality in traditional products and services - an example is demand for nutritious food and efficient cheap transportation.

There's paradoxical underemployment and unemployment situation, in which there is less job security and less worker demand for empowerment.

The trade unions leaders are focusing on fragmentation, disintegration, breakup and destruction rather than see reason, logic and common sense of the bargaining power of uniting as one in order to serve the interest of its members. Why are national leaders unable to focus on national development goals?

We see devolution is not only being checkmated, but it is being systematically rolled back with vicious, cruel, brutal, sadistic, inhuman and unethical determination. Do the country leaders understand Kenya is at crossroad in terms of its potential for economic take-off?

There is great economic development potential for Eastern African countries consisting of Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, and Tanzania in next 25 years. Kenyan is the "economic engine" of these eight countries.

First, Kenya needs leaders' able to manage and run the country as an economic enterprise. Leaders able to focus on forging stronger link between strategies and process that are able to redesign national development.

Secondly, the country needs leaders able to overcome the common pitfalls in process redesign efforts - in political economic sense. Thirdly, it requires leaders able to implement changes that result from process improvement; fourthly, the country cries for leaders able to install a top-to-bottom measurement system that provides a foundation for continuous improvement as a catalyst for economic growth and change.

What is change, we may ask? As a noun, it is transformation, amendment, modification, alteration, etc or as a verb, it is convert, exchange, replace, substitute, alter, modify, revolutionize in the paradox of life in the study of growth and change. So what does Kenya needs to vouch ahead in economic development?

The country needs leaders able to explore the forces driving the need to be more competitive in the region. The failure to meet the challenge has been both due to lack of desire or efforts and lack of understanding the variables that influence micro and macro performance necessary.

Our national economic managers should be able to contrast the traditional or yesteryears vertical view of management with the horizontal view. System components must be managed to establish national economy that is competitive, adaptive, and focused on continuous performance improvement.

The country leaders must understand and respect all three arms of the government in terms of performance and present harmoniously focus on variables that determine the executive, legislature, and judiciary effectiveness and efficiency in terms of national development.

The three national performance needs for focus economic development are goals, redesign and efficient management - and how they can be exploited by the executive, legislature and judiciary.

Each arm of the government has to provide set of questions for diagnosing the effectiveness of the goals, design and management at the national and county levels. The national government should give the counties tools for understanding and improving performance at the county level.

This gives the county governors tools for understanding and contributing to goals, design management of the cross-functional process through focus development and effective resource management.

This will ensure Kenya moves to the next level of much needed economic progress. Kenyan leaders need to focus on economic development and not on petty egoistic wars.

Prof. Osman Warfa is researcher based in USA and author of the book, "Somali Diaspora Organization Development: Implications for HRD".

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