2014 was a big year for Kenya. December 12th is celebrated by Kenyans all over the world and in the country as the day we officially gained independence from the British. As President Uhuru Kenyatta said during his speech at the annual celebrations “Jamhuri is a day to celebrate victory and promise. It is a time to reflect on our progress as we survey our nation’s prospects.” For starters the ICC case of murder and rape against the President was dropped, the country’s economy graduated into middle income status and the providence of Silicon Savannah lives on.
Following suit from many African countries such as Ghana and Nigeria this year Kenya rebased their economy. It became the continent’s ninth largest economy and our gross national income per capita is now $1,160 surpassing the threshold of $1,036 to qualify for the new classification. What effect does the ‘middle-income status’ have to the struggling mother selling fruits to support her children? Truthfully, nothing. However it represents the promise that it one day will. By this I mean that because the Kenyan government is now focused on building strong independent institutions that the effect on the ground will eventually take root. This is a departure from the governments’ culture of surrendering to parochial interests of powerful politicians and wealthy businessmen.
Secondly there is the ICC matter which is undoubtedly tied to the economy of the country. Ever since the current President took office in 2013 the ICC plague stalked him like a black cloud. Investor confidence in the country has been at an all time high, even though some investors have held back because of the fear of the President’s possible indictment. Now with the charges dropped the foreign direct investment which currently stands at $258.6 million is only set to increase.
Lastly there the dream of the Silicon Savannah lives on. Kenya is quickly becoming the technology and innovation hub of East Africa. Technology service based cities such as Konza City, Juja City and Tatu City are bound to become entrepreneur playgrounds and centres of development in the near future. This signifies that the country will stop transition from relying on agriculture and exporting raw produce to dominating the technology industry in the region. It will only serve to benefit the citizens who won’t have to fear terrorist attacks as much as they do now. This is simply because technology is married to the sophisticated understanding the value of knowledge and no one can take this away from you.
Happy Belated Jamhuri Day 2014!