Do not let elections hurt our economic growth
Posted Tuesday, March 5 2013 at 02:00
Already Kenya’s neighbours, including Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo have been jittery stocking foodstuffs and fuel in preparation for any eventuality.
Kenyans went to the polls yesterday hoping not to see the repeat of the 2008 violence, which hurt the local economy and regional trade.
Kenya’s economy is yet to recover from the slump that followed the disputed 2007 elections, with economic growth dropping from 7.1 per cent in 2007 to 1.5 per cent in 2008. It is predicted that Kenya will attain a 5 per cent growth rate in 2013 premised on the condition that elections are free, fair and credible full with a smooth transition.
Already Kenya’s neighbours who largely depend on manufactured goods originating from Kenya and the transport corridor in accessing the port of Mombasa have been jittery stocking foodstuffs and fuel in preparation for the inevitable.
The Mombasa Port, the biggest in the region in terms of capacity serves a host of countries including Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and eastern DR Congo. Most of these countries were hit hard during the violence as imports destined to these countries were not delivered on time while others were destroyed en-route by mobs.
Due to this sorry state, the business community in the region is keeping close tabs on Kenya as the election results begin to flow in.
In a bid to insulate its imports from being destroyed or delayed, the Ugandan government entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with their Tanzanian counterparts to use the port of Dar es Salaam.
Though the Ugandan authorities were quick to point on the port’s efficiency in clearing cargo as the major reason, it’s not lost to local observers that the cloud of political uncertainty hanging over Kenya for the next few months is causing jitters among investors.
Tied to the election fever effects is the inefficiency of the Port of Mombasa that players in the export and import industry have all along seen as an impediment to their business growth.
Stakeholders in the transport industry have adopted a-wait-and-see attitude on the efficacy of the reforms announced by the Ministry of Transport Permanent Secretary recently seeking to unlock the inefficiency at the port. According to the World Bank, Kenya’s average economic growth rate during election years is always at 2 per cent.
This in essence means that Kenya’s economy collapses at every election cycle painting a gloomy picture on implementing Vision 2030 whose target is to grow the economy at 10 per cent per annum for the next two decades. The ball is squarely on the government, political parties, the citizens and other stakeholders who desire a stable and prosperous nation.
The writer works at Kenya Debt Relief Network.