Magazine article African Business

50 Years of Kenya-Risks and Rewards

Magazine article African Business

50 Years of Kenya-Risks and Rewards

Article excerpt

ALMOST 50 YEARS AGO KENYA gained her independence. At that time my father was a Kenyan policeman and my mother a pregnant nurse. In 1963, shortly after Independence Day, I was born into a Kenya that was fresh, lively and full of hope. The country's population was just 8.5m.

Within three years of Independence, the prospects of difficulties with Kenya's eastern neighbour, Somalia, were emerging as manifested by the 'Shifta' secessionist movement. Ethnic Somalis, wanting to join their counterparts in an independent Somalia, launched a banditry rebellion which was quickly and decisively suppressed by the Kenyan Armed Forces.

Despite developments in agriculture, education and some social services, crime rates in the cities, soon after Independence began to rise, the product perhaps of economic and political disenfranchisement. However, I remain aghast at the levels of violence that erupted between Kenya's ethnic groups following the disputed 2007 general election as well as the current unrest between religious communities in the coastal regions. This was not, and is not, the Kenya of hope that I was born into, the land of "unity, peace and liberty" that we were all promised.

Since Independence, Kenya's population has increased by 420% to 44m. The average Kenyan is 1.8.8 years of age and we have a literacy rate of 86%. In my assessment, our people, Kenya's young, educated, energetic and diverse population, remains our greatest natural resource.

ALMOST 50 YEARS AGO KENYA gained her independence. At that time my father was a Kenyan policeman and my mother a pregnant nurse. In 1963, shortly after Independence Day, I was born into a Kenya that was fresh, lively and full of hope. The country's population was just 8.5m.

Within three years of Independence, the prospects of difficulties with Kenya's eastern neighbour, Somalia, were emerging as manifested by the 'Shifta' secessionist movement. …

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