Kenya Once Again Scores Poorly On Standard of Living Globally But We Can And Must Do Better

03 Nov

According to a UN report cited in the Standard Online story I cut and paste below, Kenya is ranked at position 143 in the world in terms of the standard of living of its citizens while Libya is the best ranked in Africa, occupying position 64 of the 187 countries surveyed in the world. The Democratic Republic of Congo, a country I’ll time allowing blog about our experience there with a business colleague a couple of years ago, is not surprisingly ranked last in the world despite its richness in precious minerals.

In the story, Hon. Peter Kenneth, who I like and would not mind to be our president when Kikuyus qualify again to seek the office (even they would agree surely, we need a break from them at least this next 2 circles)–anyway, Peter Kenneth is quoted as saying Kenya should emulate the number 1 ranked, Norway.

“We need to compare ourselves with Norway by looking at what it has done best to be number one,” said Kenneth.

Waziri has it completely wrong. We need not emulate Norway or any country for that matter.

While setting our sites at the highest possible living standard, we also must be realistic that for practical and historic reasons, we are not going to be ranked the No. 1 country in anything other than perhaps corruption but even there we are improving on the list.

My take is, we should instead emulate ourselves at independence and go from there. This is what Raila said the other day in enunciating his new vision and I fully agree with him.

A sustained GDP growth rate of even at 6.5% as we had in the 60s would transform our country in many ways and in time result in the doubling, even tripling the standard of living in short order.

In fact, if we reduce corruption by even 1/3 and institute a meager redistribution scheme, we would instantaneously and dramatically improve the standard of living.

My point is, we have enough resources to double or even triple the standard of living in very short order.

My other point is, let’s not aim at # 1 in standard of living as our good friend Peter Kenneth suggests as that is simply unrealistic; rather, let’s set our site on, say, at US at #4? Okay, even that is being too ambitious and unrealistic; so let’s shoot for UK at #28 or even United Arab Emirates at #30–and even there I say we have some serious work to be done.

There are very basic things the government can do today to get us rolling in that direction but I doubt seriously much will happen until after the elections.

The elections of 2012 will, indeed, be a defining moment in our history; we shall be at the crossroads and which president we elect will determine which direction we go: Up on the list of standard of living, going right; Down on the list, going left; or getting stuck with status quo at the dead end on the other side of the crossroad.

Peace, Love and Unity


For a complete list, go to UN Development Index Report

Soon after posting this blog, I received the following comment:

Raila has often said Kenya was at par with S. Korea in 1960’s and Peter Kenneth want Kenya to emulate Norway which took the first slot.

In 1960’s S. Korea’s infrastructure looked like what Kenya has today while in Norway coal mining and probably logging dominated their scene and probably comparable with the failing infrastructure Russia or the former states that made USSR have today.

There is nothing wrong with both Raila and Kenneth statements. I notice somehow you are promoting this idea that Raila is on the’ right track’ concerning his vision about Kenya.

Remember in as much as you would want a non-kikuyu in office, if Peter Kenneth runs he will do it as a presidentail candidate like anyone else. What if someone argues “a Luo in office?” what would you say? Maybe those are anti- Raila sentiments or forces! Let Raila and Kenneth run and anyone else.

I agree with you that something need to be done about our living standards save on the way we approach it.

Tell us something about DRC, the experiences of your friend perhaps, DRC with it’s bountiful resources might be the key to unlocking the mystery about economic growth in the Great Lakes Region.

To this, I responded as follows:

Maybe “completely wrong” is not the right choice of words to describe what I mean because, you are right, fundamentally, there is nothing wrong with what Peter Kenneth has said.

My point is still the same, though, that his saying that we emulate Norway is both unrealistic for practical and historic reasons.

My position is and continues to be Raila is the best qualified to continue leading our country as compared to those in the running.

That does not mean there is no one else who can come close to where could take us as president.

My plea for our brothers and sisters from former Central to spare us another presidency at least in the next two circles is made with utmost love and as you may not know, I am not at home with music unless it’s Franco and Mugithi in that order.

I, of course, look forward to Ohangla and the Mwana Mberis come rallies time but I digress.

It is not personal or being tribalistic when I say we need the break on Kikuyu presidency but an acknowledgement of a phenomena even a number my friends agree with and that is, let’s spread love across the country and if it’s a Luo this time, let that be the case, not just because he is a Luo, but because he is the better qualified of the pack running for the office this time around.

Had Raila been sworn as president in 2008, I am fairly certain I will be getting ready to campaign for my good friend Martha Karua to succeed him in 2017, which means Waziri PK would have to seat out at least 2022 on the same principle.

I’ll work in my Congo blog soon.

Peace, Love and Unity


And now the Standard story…

By Peter Opiyo

Kenya scores poorly in uplifting the living standards of its citizens compared to African countries that have been in turmoil like Libya, Tunisia and Egypt.

According to a UN report, Kenya is ranked at position 143 in the world in terms of human development of its citizens while Libya is the best ranked in Africa, occupying position 64 of the 187 countries surveyed in the world.

The second placed is Tunisia (94 in the world), Algeria (96), Gabon (106) and Egypt (113). Libya’s and Tunisia’s good performance came as a surprise given the political upheavals that rocked the North Africa countries.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative, Aeneas Chuma, who presented the findings, termed the good performance of Libya and Tunisia as ‘ironical but interesting.’

Norway is ranked the best in the world while Democratic Republic of Congo takes the wooden spoon at position 187. United States is at position four while the UK is ranked 28th.

Despite Kenya’s poor performance it is the highest ranked in East Africa followed by Tanzania (152), Uganda (161), Rwanda (166) and Burundi (185).

But Planning Assistant minister Peter Kenneth, who launched the report, in Nairobi, said Kenya’s position in East Africa is ‘not enviable’ and that should compare herself with Norway.

“We need to compare ourselves with Norway by looking at what it has done best to be number one,” said Kenneth.

The report, Human Development Report 2011, Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All, points out that the poor are most affected by environmental degradation and that the world’s 2.6 billion continue to cook with firewood, straw, charcoal or dung.

The report underscores the importance of access to electricity as a means of poverty alleviation. Some 1.5 billion people, according to the report lack access to electricity.

“Electrification can reduce poverty by increasing productivity, employment and time spent in school and reducing environmental pressures,” states the report.

The report recognizes Kenya’s efforts in reducing dependence on fuel wood by innovating improved stoves. This, UNDP says ‘has reduced fuel wood requirements some 40 per cent in parts of Kenya.”

Conservation of the environment is one of the issues that the UN considers very important in sustainability of human development, and the report recognizes the move by Kenya to include environmental protection in its Constitution.

“Kenya’s 2010 Constitution grants the right to a clean environment and requires the government to maintain its natural resources,” states the report.

The report points out that the disadvantaged group continue to bear the greatest repercussions of environmental deterioration yet they contribute very little to global climate change.

“In many cases the most disadvantaged people bear and will continue to bear the repercussions of environmental deterioration, even if they contribute little to the problem,” the report documents.

Developing countries have often accused developed states of contributing to the global climate change yet it is the former that pays the biggest price by experiencing low and unreliable rainfall affecting agricultural production and adversely impacting on their livelihoods.

“The average UK citizen accounts for as much greenhouse gas emissions in two months as a person in low human development index country generates in a year,” the report points out.

The report recommends transformational effort to scale up efforts to slow or halt climate change.

“To facilitate both equitable access and efficient use of international financial flows, this report advocates empowering national stakeholders to blend climate finance at the country level,” the report proposes.

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Posted by on November 3, 2011 in Uncategorized


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