By: Eliud Owalo
The CORD administration is committed to peaceful political transition that will create an enabling environment for the private sector to take advantage of emerging regional trading opportunities.
The private sector will be encouraged to participate in international trade so that export markets form the basis of employment creation, wealth creation and double-digit economic growth.
The East African Community market offers Kenya immense trading opportunities. With a market of over 130 million people, Kenya can borrow a leaf from Germany that decided to run an export oriented economy and as a result has built a very strong economy that has survived global shocks.
Germany used the private sector to supply high quality goods all over the world. That is why the European Union looks at Germany for economic leadership.
Kenya has got the highest industrial base in the region and the CORD government will ensure that the private sector is given incentives to take advantage of regional trading blocs.
The CORD administration will deliberately create a raft of incentives to energize the manufacturing base so that we penetrate export markets as a national strategy. Kenyan companies must start producing for regional markets like the EAC and COMESA as well as the rest of the world. This is the only way we can create jobs and cushion ourselves from global economic vagaries like the Euro zone crisis.
Outside the export markets, CORD will work with County governments to create at least one major industry in every County besides establishing 24-hour economies in major urban centres.County governments will be encouraged to focus on production activities where they enjoy competitive advantages and deliberately influence value addition to raise incomes.
Admittedly, the youth form the bulk of the unemployed in Kenya; that is why the CORD administration will restructure the Youth Enterprise Fund to give young people skills and provide them with start -up grants as well as loans at reduced rates for business expansion.
The purpose of the Fund will be to assist the youth penetrate virgin markets and reward entrepreneurs who show passion and resilience. Such entrepreneurs will be given marketing support services and exposure to mentorship programmes. Special emphasis will be given to export marketing opportunities for the youth.
Konza Techno City will be supported to the hilt and replicated across the Nation especially at County level, to take advantage of the Nationâ€™s time zones and a fluent English speaking human resource base. Konza City will be used to catalyze utilization of ICT hence opening up Kenya as a regional ICT hub..
The CORD leadership with its impressive international network will hit the ground running in promoting both local and international investments. The CORD leadership will also visit international capital markets cities and woo investors at round tables. This will come hot on the heels of a host of incentives that will make Kenya the natural investment destination in Africa.
The CORD leadership will meet with the Fortune 500 companies and sell Kenya as an investment destination in an aggressive results oriented manner. This will be a performance indicator for Kenyaâ€™s Foreign and Trade services. Kenyaâ€™s missions abroad will be encouraged to open up markets for youth entrepreneurs.
Under development in infrastructure will be addressed by dedicating 15% of national budget to infrastructural projects and 2.5% of annual GDP to research and development. CORD has identified modern agriculture, ICT and manufacturing as the target areas of focus. Kenya has had notable success in recent years in expanding its wage-base in commercial farming, especialy in tea and coffee. Such sectorial expansions and investments will certainly create job opportunities for the youth.
Commercial agriculture and skilled services will continue receiving preferential consideration with the export market in mind. Indeed, the Prime Ministerâ€™s round tables have given the CORD leadership a strong understanding of the manufacturing sector. This knowledge and experience will be used to invigorate the manufacturing sector which hitherto had faced unique challenges.
The CORD leadership will maintain the round tables as a strategic tool for understanding private sector problems and offering solutions for the same. Particular attention will be paid to making manufacturing in Kenya more competitive so that our goods and services are of international quality yet affordable at the export markets.
Clearly, these commercial sector undertakings will have the beneficial effect of absorbing more people especially youths into the job markets.