Archive | August, 2009

ROLE OF INFORMATION IN THE REALIZATION OF MILLENIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS

20 Aug

BY: JAVAS ARAFAT BIGAMBO

INTRODUCTION
World economies share a lot in common in terms of aspirations, problems and approaches to issues affecting individual nations or regions. Countries generally
emphasize the process of economic development and target higher Gross Domestic Product as an outcome. Countries also want to see the environment stay healthy so that there is clean air, clean water, plentiful energy, and biodiversity. They also understand the importance of addressing education and health care, lowering unemployment levels, and reducing poverty. These goals may sometimes be seen as conflicting, where addressing one will complicate the other. Yet ways can be found to ensure that progress can be made on all goals. In developing comprehensive national plans, countries formulate strategies to achieve these visions. Examples include Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRSs) and plans to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These strategies must then be converted into operational plans and budgets. The plans, strategies, and budgets must be comprehensive and be underpinned by rigorous quantitative analysis to ensure that resources are allocated effectively.

The developing countries suffer from common problems ranging from abject poverty to environmental degradation. They have realized that they share these problems and have, in agreement, concerted their efforts towards freeing themselves from these problems through collaborative partnership with developed countries. These efforts were being coordinated by United Nations Development Program (UNDP) through international conferences and summits during the 1990s. The outcome of the conferences and summits were summarized into eight (8) goals at a Millennium summit in September 2000 attended by 147 Heads of state. During the summit they committed their states, by declaration, to achieve the distilled goals by 2015. These goals are the ones referred to as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The goals were aimed improving the lives of their citizens. Government budgets are prepared with a view to achieve these goals. For each goal, one or more targets were set with 1990 as a benchmark. The goals and targets include:
1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by 2015; reduce the proportion of people living on less than one US dollar a day and those who suffer from hunger.

2. Achieve universal primary education by 2015; ensure that boys and girls have access to primary education.

3. Promote gender equality and empower women between 2005 and 2015; eliminate gender disparities at all educational levels, employment, political positions etc
4. Reduce child mortality by 2/3 by 2015.

5. Improve maternal health by three quarters on or before 2015.

6. Combat HIV and AIDS, Malaria, and other diseases by 2015; stop and reverse the spread of HIV and AIDS and other major diseases.

7. Ensure environmental sustainability by 2015; by integrating the principles of sustainable development into country policies and reverse the loss of environmental resources. Improve access to safe and clean drinking water and improve living standards of people in rural and slum areas.

8. Develop global partnership for development through open trade and good governance, address poor countries’ special needs, and deal with developing countries’ debts. Develop productive work for youth and, in collaboration with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies-ICTs.

These MDGs are the world’s time-bound and quantified targets for ensuring and guaranteeing conformity to the basic human rights, that is, health, education, shelter and security. Planning must take into account the interdependent and integrated nature of economic and other development processes. Economic growth, for instance, requires a healthy and educated workforce. A healthy and literate workforce requires adequate investment in social services. If planning does not consider the links between economics, society, and the environment, opportunities will be missed for yielding the desired results within real budget and time constraints. Unintended impacts may stifle progress and cause a country to move away from its vision rather than towards it.
Strides toward the achievement of these goals have been made. Between 1990 and 2005, poverty index reduced due to increased income. Child mortality has declined from 103/1000 to 88/1000 and life expectancy has risen from 63 to 67. access to basic essential services such as water and sanitation has improved (UNDP, 2005).

However, these gains have not been uniform amongst the partisan countries for various reasons, lack of information reigning supreme among other reasons. Information is a critical component in the realization of the MDGs because successful implementation depend on the knowledge level of the implementers as well as the beneficiaries, each must be aware of their roles and how each role relate to the others’. This gives information a catalytic role in the overall realization of the MDGs. Thus information systems and managers have an important role in putting in place infrastructures that can facilitate availability and access to information by MDG stakeholders in a form and manner that is most appropriate.
This paper evaluates the role information plays in facilitating the realization of the MDGs. It addresses the goal one by one.

GOAL 1; Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger (2015)
According to Karamagioli (2006),Information offers opportunities that contribute towards bridging the socio-economic gap between the poor and the rich and supporting sustainable wealth creation. Efforts towards eradicating poverty and hunger are evident in many developing countries where majority of the world’s population is found. Here, access to information is a problem because education levels are low and access to information facilities such as libraries, media, internet is limited in spite of tremendous effort by respective countries. The progress made by less developed countries (LDCs) in adopting and adapting to the use of ICT is negligible as compared to the millions that live in these countries. This has led to millions missing opportunities to improve their living standards in form of employment opportunities or information on how to improve their state.

Information institutions such as libraries, media houses etc offers various services to a variety of their clientele. For example, a library could issue information, say, to a housewife who wants to start a confectionery business n book form or other media or she could also coincidentally read such article in a daily newspaper. Information professionals know what information is available. This calls for a shift by professionals from routine activities and focus their interest on the needs of their clients. In addition, information professional should market their services to prospective clients. Media houses, especially radio and television do broadcast programs on poverty alleviation while the print media publishes literature on the same for those who can read. The advent of ICTs has helped to speed up information delivery and access, not to mention the creation of employment opportunities, thus contributing directly to poverty reduction.
In Uganda, the government has instituted a poverty eradication action plan (PEAP) which stands on four pillars: fast and sustainable economic growth and structural transformation; good governance and security; actions that empower the poor to generate wealth; actions which improve the quality of life of the poor; and. In all these pillars, information is not mentioned but it is implicit because none of the pillars can exist without the stakeholders’ understanding and goodwill. The goodwill is the result of being informed of the benefits and the roles thereto. The undoing of the PEAP is lack of emphasis on the role of information as a catalyst cutting across the four pillars. In Kenya, things are not very different. The government has introduced the Economic Recovery Strategy (ERS) in which it has recognized agriculture as the sector that is critical in poverty alleviation and hunger. It has introduced the Strategy for Revitalization of Agriculture (SRA) and National food security (NFP).

GOAL 2; Achieve universal primary education (2015)
This is possible through having all boys and girls complete primary education. As many as 113 million youth world over do not attend school either due to poverty or lack of information. Some countries, Kenya included are doing well in this regard. In India, 95% of its youth are attending school, while in Kenya the General Enrolment Rate (GER) stands at 93% after the introduction of free primary education (FPE) in 2004. Gender parity was almost achieved in Primary schools. However there are regional disparities in boy-girl enrolment (Unesco,2005). This may be attributed to cultural beliefs, poverty and lack of information amongst parents. The government has through Sessional Paper number one of 2005 (MOEST, 2005) strategizes on provision of education to its citizens at all levels. Substantial financial allocation has been made to boost the education sector.
Information and media houses have the responsibility to market the need for information so that the people can appreciate the importance of information. The use of ICTs in education has come at the right time and should therefore be encouraged. The challenges facing its successful implementation include poverty, cost of installations, government censorship, etc. Projects such as e-learning should be encouraged should be encouraged for all gender

GOAL 3; Promote gender equality and empower women (2015)
Gender equality refers to the valuation by society of both the similarities and differences between male and female human beings and the different roles they play in the society. It is believed that men and women should enjoy the same status in the society in terms of access to resources and opportunities for realizing their full potential. This will enable them to contribute to national political, economic, social and cultural development ( Wagacha, 2007). In reality women are disadvantaged in this respect, hence the reason for championing such a goal. The gender gap that exists is mainly as result of cultural or traditional beliefs which view women as weaker compared to men.

In Kenya efforts are being made towards bridging the disparity between male and female. In primary education, the government introduced free primary education which has seen more girls enroll in public primary schools as compared to boys. But n secondary, tertiary and university education female enrolment is alarmingly low as compared to their male counterparts. The high enrolment in primary schools is attributed to the government policy abolishing charges in primary education in 2003 (Onsomu, et al, 2006). Most families in rural Kenya are poor and ardent cultural practitioners, unable to pay fees and would prefer to pay for male children and marry out the girls to raise fees from the dowry paid. High up in academic ladder fewer female are seen. In spite of the government policy to have 30% women in public formal employment in 2003, little success has been realized. In governance and policy making levels less than 13% women are represented as compared to Rwanda’s 48%. It is understandable that in Rwanda’s case, that many men lost ther lives in civil wars leaving more women than men.

However, with the expanded democratic space, access to information has been made easier. Pressure groups, NGOs, individuals and government have embarked on a spirited campaign to enlighten the masses about their rights, opportunities and challenges facing the society. This has given the power to fight for opportunities, not only to women but also to disadvantaged men. The government monopoly and power to censure information has further been reduced by the advent of Information Communications Technology (ICT) whereby public access to government and other information is possible with little government interference.

Bridging gender equality gap depends greatly on the availability and utilization of information infrastructures that can facilitate access to information. These infrastructures include information institutions (libraries, archives, data centers etc), media houses (TV, Radio, Newspapers etc), the internet and barazas. Information systems provide print and other forms of information materials supporting fundamental knowledge; Internet provides information on a wide range of topics , both local and foreign; Broadcasting stations and publishing firms provide news and documentaries on a variety of topics too.
Information is a great equalizer. Access to information on education leads to literacy. This means that one is able to read and write. It also means that one can read, understand and apply the knowledge acquired. Information acquired makes either gender aware of their rights as a basis of equalization. Information therefore is a critical component in the effort of empowering women and promoting gender equality.

GOAL 4; Reduce child mortality by 2/3 children under five years of age by 2015.
Every year, nearly 11milln youth die before their fifth birthday due to preventable diseases ad malnutrition. This can be attributed to poverty and lack of information. Governments, in collaboration with WHO and UNICEF, have concentrated on immunization and education of mothers on how they can prevent, manage and cure common ailments that threaten the live of the child. The major challenges facing this effort are:
1. Cost of access to healthcare services. In fact most of the cases are prevalent among the rural poor. If such can access information on how they could generate income, the idea of medical or healthcare costs will be a thing of the past.
2. HIV/AIDS threatens to reverse the gains made. Information about prevention and management of AIDS cases counts a lot in sustaining the gains.
3. Lack of human resource to deal with skills needed to deal with childhood illnesses. Education and training coupled with organizational innovative learning.
4. Poor and inadequate supply system.
5. Research into neonatal deaths.
Child mortality is prevalent in areas where most people are not educated ant do not, therefore have access to published and broadcast information. Besides they cannot use ICT to access information of whatever nature. Education and information are therefore inseparable. People need to be educated to be able to use ICTs Which have helped to speed up information access, delivery and dissemination. In fact the AHILA/AIBSA conference held in Mombasa in September 2006 resolved to:
1. The significance that access to health information plays in the realization of the MDGs. Public libraries and other information system should, along with stakeholders, disseminate health information to the rural population.
2. Endorse the campaign for Health Information for All (HIFA) by 2015.
3. Train health and information specialists so as to equip them with knowledge and skills for disseminating health information to the rural population.
4. Create partnerships in the creation, acquisition, organization and dissemination of health information. This is made possible through training in research, documentation, management and ICT.

GOAL 5; Improve maternal health by reducing the number of women dying in childbirth by ¾ by 2015.
In the developed world, the number of mothers dying at childbirth is negligible but I the developing countries. This can be attributed to technological developments and access to information. Most women in developed countries are aware of their rights, have access to information and are therefore more advantaged as compared to their counterparts in the developing world. The rate of deaths in developing countries may be because of low education rates which curtail their ability to access information. In collaboration with WHO most countries have reduced the rates through the introduction of safe motherhood programs in health facilities and through community-based organizations
In Kenya, immunization program e.g KEPI and access to low cost preventive measures e.g treated mosquito nets have helped reduce maternal mortality. The government has also increased funding to hospitals and other health-related sectors such s education and training. Access to reproductive health services have been made easy. However, there may be no effect if the subjects do not know or have information about this facilities. Information houses have the duty to disseminate the information by all mans. Use of ICT cannot be ignored.

GOAL 6; Combat HIV and AID, malaria and other diseases (2015)
Health Information For All (HIFA) launched at the AHILA Conference(2006) purposed to have every person, by 2015, should have access to an informed health care provider. In developing countries prevalence of diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS is common, not because this cannot be reversed, but because there is lack of sufficient information on the part of the people and the healthcare providers on prevention, management and curative strategies. Information can be accessed to a great extent by educating the society on the need to sharpen information seeking habits and methods. The campaign to educate the masses can be launched by health professional as well as the information professionals through libraries, media houses and other stakeholders to ensure that every member of the society is informed. In addition, government strategies and policies should be instituted and strengthened.
In Kenya, campaign to keep the public informed is up especially with declaration of HIV/AIDS as a national disaster by the president in 1999. The government having, introduced National Aids Control Council (NACC) and the National Malaria Strategy, among other efforts, to campaign against HIV/AIDS, malaria and other prevalent diseases. Community-based organizations and non-governmental organizations should work very closely with information institutions to boost access to information by the communities. Use of ICT should be encouraged to speed up information delivery.

GOAL 7; Ensure environmental sustainability (2015)
Environment and natural resources provide a base for economic and social development including poverty eradication. However its importance has not been precisely valuated and factored into GDP as a basis for food production and wealth generation. In fact, environment cuts across all sectors and contributes directly and indirectly towards achieving the MDGs. That is, activities in all sector have an environmental dimension which when mainstreamed, all MDGs will be realize with little strain. Poverty is the greatest threat to environmental sustainability because the poor can only access that which is available in their environment for exploitation. Resources such as forests are at a risk. Industry also threatens because it draws raw materials from the environment and produces industrial emissions which pollute the environment.
To counter the challenges facing environmental sustainability, the government has established a National environmental Management authority (NEMA) to coordinate environmental management/ protection. In addition, policy, legal framework, and environmental education have been given priority in the fight to protect the environment.
The advent of ICT creates an opportunity to speed up information communication and exchange. The government needs to establish an Environment Management System (EIS) to facilitate information gathering, collation, dissemination and management. The use of other ICT facilities such as media for advocacy and education can boost the efforts made by all stakeholders in environmental management.

GOAL 8; Develop global partnership for development
The slow pace at which the MDGs are being realized in the developing countries, it is clear that most of these countries lack the capacity to realize the targets. This is why the countries need support form the international community in terms of funding, technology and skilled manpower. This may be done through partnerships such as Overseas Development Assistance (ODA). Most developing countries, Kenya included, have had such support cut due to poor governance and corruption. But Kenya, through prudent financial management and enactment of anti-corruption legislation has found favour in the eyes of the donor-countries which act as development partners with Kenya. The partnership exists in the form of ODA, debt cancellation, foreign market access, technology transfer and Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). Kenya like many developing countries is still constrained in achieving MDGs.
In an effort to free themselves from the constraints, developing countries are now setting up trading blocs by which their bargaining power is enhanced and markets are created. Such partnerships are important in realizing the MDGs. Timely and appropriate exchange of information between partners is important. This can be possible by use of Information technology.

Conclusion
Information plays a catalytic role in the realization of the millennium development goals. This calls for information institutions to stand up and provide information necessary for sustainable development in developing countries. They should not only be interested in accurate information delivery, but they should also take keen interest in the relevance, packaging and speed of delivery. ICT plays a key role in boosting the speed of delivery as well as well as variety especially if the internet is involved.

MDG Realization model
An overview of the goals can be realized is explained below with the help of a model.
A) Society: This is the country, community or any group which has needs. The needs include food, shelter etc that are a threat to the existence of the society.
B) Information: This involves capacity building through awareness creation. Information can be accessed through education in schools, use of libraries and other information systems, pressure groups. The subjects can then equip themselves with preventive as well as curative knowledge and skills.
C) Plans: The society has objectives that it seeks to realize. Forecasts of how the objectives will be realized are drawn.
D) Strategies: Approaches as to how the objectives will be realized are drawn.
E) Budgets: This involves estimation of the resource requirements i.e financial, material and time.
F) MDGs

The elements of the model are shown below:

REFERENCES
1. Millennium Institute. Threshold 21: Integrated Development Model
2. Republic of Kenya. Ministry of Education ,Science and Technology. Elimu News, 2007
3. United Nations Development Programme. Millennium Development Goals, 2000
4. Karamagioli, Evika. Achieving MDGs through the use of Information and Communication Technology, 2006
5. Republic of Uganda. Ministry of Finance. Poverty Eradication Action Plan, 2006
6. AHILA|AIBSA. Millennium Development Goals and Health Information Provision in Africa,2006.
7. ILO. Gender: Equality between men and women,
8. Wagacha Wambui. Access to information as a driver towards closing of the gender gap: the emerging scenes in Kenya, 2007

The author can be reached through: jbigambo@interthoughts.co.ke

THE ROLE OF HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT IN KENYA’S INDUSTRIALIZATION HAPPY TALK

20 Aug

BY: JAVAS-BIGAMBO
(A Discussion paper presented at Moi University ‘Masters of Development Studies’ Analysis Forum)

The development of Human Resource has all along taken shape based on various philosophical and intellectual perspectives. Three alternative views of adult development can serve to distinguish competing schools of thought regarding the research, theory, and practice of human resource development (HRD). According to Kuchinke (1999), these views are as follows: (1) the person-centered view, which aims at self-realization of the individual and is grounded in humanistic psychology and liberalism; (2) the production-centered view, which focuses on organizational goals and is based on behaviorism and libertarianism; and (3) the view that defines development as principled problem solving and is grounded in cognitive psychology, progressivism, and pragmatism. Approaches to HRD based on each view have their own strengths and potential shortcomings.

HRD analysis and interventions has always involved (a) knowledge creation and innovation, (b) knowledge transfer and retention, and (c) knowledge associated with job succession planning, as this has been the backbone of Human Resource Development.

Kenya has a long history, beginning with colonial rule and following through independence, of a lack of autonomy within its politics and economy. Add to this the shortage of resources for education; lack of a stable economy, high birth rate, and devastating impact of AIDS/HIV, and Kenya has severe problems with economic development. Its last two national development plans, however, have assigned to human resource development (HRD) a key role in improving the economic well-being of the country and its population.

The major purpose of this inquiry is to set-out thoughts, reflections, transcend ordinary talk and propose strategies that will lay the foundation for the structural transformation required to enable Kenya join the league of Newly Industrialized Countries by the year 2020. The issues articulated herein are firmly inclined toward realizing a comprehensive framework for the rapid restoration of sustainable economic development in Kenya. It thus follows that for this to be achieved; first, the domestic market for manufactured goods must be expanded markedly. Second, Kenya’s industry must be restructured to become much more efficient and capable of exporting goods profitably and competing against imported goods with moderate protection”.

Basically, Kenya has a relatively large manufacturing and industrial service sector whose share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has increased very little over the past two decades. The sector has not been dynamic enough to function as “an engine of growth” for the whole economy and has not contributed significantly to foreign exchange earnings. The sector has been inward-looking with limited technological progress and reflects past import substitution policy orientations. This could not and cannot still be achieved without specialized manpower to take charge of the sector and be the think tanks. This requires equipping the human resource with skills in ICT (Information and Communication Technology). There is need also to drastically cut down general illiteracy levels across the country so as to have an empowered population.

From the outset, the Kenya Vision 2030 enumerates a blueprint for Kenya’s development process, highly depending on sectors which include:

The Economic Pillar, that desires to have increased the annual GDP growth rates to an average of 10%, and a desire to employ a local workforce of 75% of the country’s workers. This, it’s stated will increasingly depend on six key sectors. These include;
1. Tourism. It’s said Kenya, desires to create high value markets for Kenya’s tourism. This shall be done through “better marketing of little-visited parks”, “premium parks initiative”, which will provide more expensive tourists experience in such popular destinations such as Maasai Mara and Nakuru.
2. Increasing value in Agriculture. This involves raising incomes in agriculture, livestock and fisheries by processing and thereby adding value to her products before they reach the market. This is to be achieved with the aid of 1.) Transforming key institutions in agriculture and livestock to promote household and private sector agricultural growth, 2.) Increased productivity of crops and livestock, hence, the need to introduce new land policies through better utilization of high and medium potential lands, strategically developing more irrigable areas in arid and semi-arid lands for both crops and livestock; and also the dire need to ameliorate market access to small holders through better marketing.

The Role of Research and Education in Health Delivery System in Kenya
Health research coupled with well-planned and coordinated health and continuing education is surely an investment for development. Health research is not only an individual concern but also a national and international prerogative.
Research is a vital tool for health and development. Basically, health research provides basic information on the state of health and disease in the population. In this regard, it provides tools to prevent and cure illnesses and investigate their effects and it attempts to provide better approaches of health care for the individual and the community. When the population is healthy, the manpower can be sustained to facilitate the necessary skills and know-how required to foster Kenya’s intended industrialization.
However, it is regrettable that health research has been taken for granted by many individuals and institutions, particularly in developing countries such as Kenya. It has falsely been perceived to be a domain for dons and researchers in higher learning institutions as well as in research institutes, yet they won’t be the only beneficiaries of the hyped industrialization. Both the private and public sector’s need to take leading roles in research and Human Resource Development.
Research is a necessary undertaking at all levels, in all sectors and should be taken seriously at national, institutional and individual levels for knowledge enhancement, health improvement, health sustainability and general development. Research in scientific innovations and technology should also be championed because industrialization in Kenya can’t be attained without a solid technological base.

Scientific and Industrial Research and Development in Kenya
Scientific and industrial research must progress simultaneously and that industrial research cannot be done without a strong base in the basic science research. It’s worthy noting that the discoveries of the basic sciences are utilized in industrial research, and both are utilized in industrial production. Thus, curiosity-driven research is called science, and the application of the scientific discoveries to development is called technology. So, there is no such thing as disconnected science and technology. Nonetheless, developing the connections between science and technology demands great skills. This can be best done through sustained manpower training rather, the development of Human Resources. For there can be no development without human input and supervision. This is the backbone of all industrial initiatives.
It therefore follows that scientific research results in inventions and that technological efforts lead to innovations. The target set for Kenya for industrialization is 2020. The efforts towards industrialization can lead to socio-economic transformation resulting in prosperity. Basic requirements for this are the development of novel materials, the establishment of industries that may use these novel materials, the development of steel industry and special steel for nuclear and fusion reactors, the development of super-conducting materials and super-conducting power plants as well as photovoltaic technology. True, that is where innovation, scientific research and indigenous knowledge need to take us.
Thrust area of industrialization will demand the establishment of basic, medium and heavy industries. This thrust of course must be determined by scientists and other researchers. It is suggested that to achieve the goal of industrialization, scientists at industrial research institutes will have to divide the industrial progress into phases of approximately five years. In the first phase, research institutions will have to be established which are of relevance or capable of strengthening the existing ones, and then establish basic industries that will act as feeder industries to the medium and heavy industries. In the third and fourth phases, heavy industries will have to be established and simultaneously, the know-how developed by science and the research institutions will have to be utilized.
It goes without saying that using primitive methods or primitive social structures and time- and resources-wasting devices of the past can’t achieve modern industrialization. There is, therefore, the need for developing fast decision-taking skills and changing the working habits of people. This therefore dictates that there must be serious investing in the development of Human Resources.
Another challenge is that the scientists and technologists in Kenya will have to work hard to raise the standards to match them with the international standards. This is because, presently, development standards are set by the developed countries and so, to be recognized, they must be commensurate. Also, Kenyan scientists and technologists will have to establish quality assurance laboratories with the latest equipment and know-how. Once this is done, the goods produced in Kenya can compete in the world market – an important requirement for economic transformation in Kenya.
The Role of Research in the Education Reform in Kenya
To this end, it is obvious to argue that research and training are important in the planning of the social, political and economic development of Kenya if the industrialization target has to be attained. Education reform is the process of changing the education system for better by adding, deleting and altering contents. In the past, many changes have taken place in the Kenyan system, which culminated in the introduction of the 8-4-4 system of education in 1985. In recent times the 8-4-4 system has been accused of having failed in fulfilling its original mission. A commission of inquiry into the education system was established to review and reform the education system with a view to preparing today’s young people in such a way that they will be able to cope with the demands of the 21st century. Effective and efficient education systems provide good ground for well baked and adequately skilled human resources.
It is clear that much of what constitutes policy formulation and implementation in Kenya is based more on spontaneity than on clear-cut, international and purposive planning. Scanty attention is given to research and development (R&D) as important ingredients of the developmental process. Development research and public administration in Kenya are supposed to be intimately and intricately intertwined, as is the case in the developed countries. This is because research is a holistic process that is supposed to involve the whole societal fabric to be meaningful. Not just a selected or privileged section that comprises a minority.
Kenya has for long had a craving for industrial and socio-economic development. Its dependence on foreign aid and donor grants led to the infamous structural Adjustment programmes (SAPs) that had a myriad of bottlenecks to real development.
Conclusion
The failures of the ISI model and the introduction of the structural adjustment programmes (SAP) underpinned by the neoclassical framework, led to the strong focus on import liberalization and almost a “no industrial policy” posture. Import liberalization was intended to provide corrective signals and incentives to the manufacturing and other sectors, increase the level of competition and technical efficiency, and stimulate factor productivity. The results so far show that the expected benefits of the new policy regime under SAP have not materialized.
In this chapter, we examine the industrialization experience of African countries, assess the performance over time and proffer explanations for the lack-lustre performance. Finally, we examine the major challenges facing the industrialization process in Africa, and chart the road ahead. The rest of the chapter is organized as follows: In the remaining parts of this section, we evaluate the industrialization strategy of the 1960s and reasons for its failure. This is followed by an evaluation of the industrial performance under the SAP regime, with a view to understanding why the promises of SAP are not realised.
The case of Kenya is better than that of Tanzania but there too the picture is far from rosy. Although the industrial sector is competitive relative to the neighboring countries (CBS 1961–1995a; Coughlin and Ikiara 1988), Kenya’s industrialization process is still in an early phase. The sector lacks a strong indigenous technological base. The country has already taken advantage of the most obvious economic opportunities for import substitution and now wishes to find ways to sustain rapid industrial development. However, this may be hampered by:
• its dependency on imported capital and intermediate inputs;
• an uncertain future potential export market in the neighboring countries; and
• The relatively small domestic market.
Industrialization in Kenya has taken place behind the wall of relatively heavy protection against foreign competition (CBS 1961–1992a; Coughlin and Ikiara 1988 and 1991; Semboja 1993). This was based on a relatively over-valued exchange rate that kept imported capital goods and intermediate inputs relatively cheap, subsidized interest rates that made domestic investments attractive, direct government participation in industry, interventions in the form of the provision of direct loans and equity capital and access to foreign exchange for imported inputs and remittances at subsidized official rates. These pervasive, protection and government-sponsored industrial incentives have had a strong impact on the total economy and particularly on the price relationships.

The author can be reached through: jbigambo@interthoughts.co.ke

Youth and Corruption in Kenya

20 Aug

Corruption in Kenya is endemic to the extent of state capture by narrow interests. State capture is a phenomenon where powerful self-interested economic actors gain control over the state to their own advantage and to the enormous losses of entire societies. State capture politically enslaves the Executive to the dictates of the narrow interest leading to weakened public institutions which citizens and the youth cannot trust to facilitate development and regulate justice. The process of state capture usually begins with our politics. Politics is about the management of shared public resources and affairs. When selfishness for money/opportunities fuels our voting patterns we sacrifice the possibility of political accountability to the citizens. This is because we have surrendered our civic duty and authority to the political entity that bribes us and promises us stolen state resources and opportunities. As a result Kenya’s political systems sadly serve on the priorities of the most powerful politicians and economic networks leaving out the interests of the poor citizens, women children and the youth. This in turn fuels a corruption culture that assumes the character of politics of ethnicity. Politics of ethnicity thrives on political patronage – when the right holders are forced to rely on the protection of powerful people from their ethnic group. This scenario is the single greatest driver of grand corruption in Kenya.

State capture has also led to weak policy and legal frameworks to fight corruption. Even though since 2002, the government has taken steps to promote transparency and accountability ( for example through enactment of the crimes and anticorruption law and wealth declarations), the lack of Freedom of Information Laws and the continuum of the Officials Secrets Act have been machinated to purposely frustrate anti-corruption efforts. Even the policies and legislations that could have ensured that public resources are used to develop youth potential are purposely weak to make it possible for patronage networks to capture jobs and contracts in public services. Such is the enormity of the challenge that faces the youth in Kenya today – how to claim back government ministries, courts, pension funds, stock markets and institutions of planning to act in youth interest rather than in the interest of a few people that wield undue influence over state institutions.

The youth, together with the poor, children and women, bear the greatest consequences of corruption. Corruption deters investment and competition that could provide much-need jobs to the youth. It drives up the cost of basic foods such as unga, deters investment in infrastructure and micro-credit that could support youth enterprise. It prevents investment in healthcare that would roll back diseases affecting the youth such as malaria and HIV/AIDS. It is therefore extremely worrying that the youth, the poor/marginalised and women seem resigned to a fate where the state only caters to the interest of a few. Yet it is this same group that can bring about change given that the middle class and the rich are a tiny minority within Kenya’s body-politic. These conditions have resulted in predominantly docile and resigned citizens when it comes to matters of ethics, transparency and accountability in the management of public affairs.

Conclusion and Way Forward

For Kenya’s state capture to be reversed, public service, public contracting, public procurement and other public processes must be open to public scrutiny. A critical mass must have the determination and continuous vigil to extract accountability from their government. With their considerable energy, ideas and determination, the youth are in a unique opportunity to play a major role in promoting transparency and accountability in the governance of this country. To avoid mortgaging their future and that of this country at the alter of ethnic benefits, they must drive the political agenda by collating their collective aspirations rather than abetting state capture through ethno-political violence. The youth must demand equitable and transparent development and equitable and transparent access to public resources as an entitlement for all Kenyans. The youth must demand a constitution that places transparency and accountability by the President and Prime Minister to citizens at the centre of governance of Kenya.

RE: PLEASE, CONSIDER THE PLIGHT OF THE DISABLED

19 Aug

Hon. Njeru Githae,
Minister for Nairobi Metropolitan
Nairobi

RE: PLEASE, CONSIDER THE PLIGHT OF THE DISABLED
I take occasion on behalf of many, to congratulate you for having been appointed Minister for Nairobi Metropolitan not so long ago. I do find it altogether fitting and proper, that a resourceful person of your esteemed credentials should run such a vital portfolio.
I write to you as a voice and able representative of a marginalized constituency, as an interested party in the famed development of Nairobi city and Kenya at large.
We behold that Nairobi is the only city in the world with a unique national park, the third largest UN offices among other fundamental fetes. Should such nobility be soiled by a new regulation? As a representative of Kenyans’ civil rights and social justice, especially those with disability, and conscious advocates of such a marginalized constituency, we shudder at the prospects of the disabled e.g. the paraplegics, the blind; leaving their vehicles far off, and being carried or the fortunate ones wheeling themselves all the way to the CBD. Sir, we trust you are aware that Kenyan public service vehicles have not been modified to fit the mobility needs of paraplegics for instance. If your directive is such that it is implemented unfettered, without due consideration to the plight of citizens with disability, won’t that disenchant, profile, dehumanize further and disadvantage the disabled?
God knows how that would go on to glaciate the veneer esteem that remains as the propeller-shaft of hope and humility of the disabled citizens. Pray, this would profoundly relegate the contribution of the disabled to the footnotes our nation’s development.
Allow me to remind you that some of my constituents are councilors, businessmen and women, consultants, students on internship, tourists and some are Kenyans who want to join friends in town for social networking. We are all diligent citizens who toil in the daily labor of building the great nation made with but many hands.
Indeed I have given your new regulation some considerable thought, and indeed conclude and present, albeit tentatively and hypothetically that the decree, if implemented without amendment, will only serve to be a wet blanket and a plague of condemnation and discomfort to citizens with disability in Nairobi. What would be wrong if that regulation grants exemption to persons with disability? In respect of the Disabilities Act, the very regulation that your portfolio fronts would verily contravene such provisions that hitherto serve to ameliorate the plight of the disabled in Kenya. To this end, I humbly differ with the wisdom of that directive to the extent of the difference it promulgates in respect of the Disabilities Act, and the general need for integration of persons with disability who rightfully need not be marginalized.
That we are able at this time to bear upon the matter, fear grips me that it is exceedingly intriguing and somewhat provoking to our collective imaginations to ponder as to the real anguish and dehumanizing circumstance of the practicality of your Portfolio’s directive, which will not allow persons with disability to realize participatory progress on Millennium Development Goals. How far would this go to foster national harmony? Only poignant doom it will cast to be the lot of the disabled.
Allow me to indicate that there is no need to have a general regulation that would multiply the odds against persons with disability. I shall ever be indebted to you for your diligence toward the tasks of Kenyan renaissance.

With more than a common interest I subscribe myself ever truly your friend as well as partner in progress, here and hereafter;

Yours Faithfully,
JAVAS ARAFAT BIGAMBO
Cc:
Minister for Local Government – Hon. Deputy prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi
Nairobi City Mayor – Geoffrey Majiwa
Nairobi Town Clerk – Philip Kisia