Are the manifestos being peddled by politicians in favour of entrepreneurs?

Manifestos drive government budget process, they must be aligned.

Photo credit: Pool I Nation Media Group

Over the past three months, political parties have been documenting the agenda they wish to push through over a five-year period should they win the General Election.

The street language is manifestos, but those who know better call it a strategic plan without a clear end game.

The national strategic plan for Kenya is Vision 2030, a properly developed document with clear outcomes and measurables.

The so-called manifestos are supposed to be implementing vision 2030 in five-year cycles.

I am immensely proud of the quality of the VIsion 2030 document but extremely disappointed with its piecemeal implementation. Kenya Vision 2030 envisages three key outcomes, none of which are moving on track.

To be a globally competitive and prosperous nation offering citizens a high quality of life by 2030, the social, the economic and political agendas of the Vision must all be achieved in tandem.

The political agenda was to achieve an issue-based people-oriented, result-oriented, and accountable democratic political system.

Political agenda

The political agenda is key in creating an investor attractive environment which in turn creates jobs. The political system creates and sustains laws and a system for administering law – the court system.

We have failed to get this element on track for 20 years and running. If we keep expecting investors based in countries where the rule of law works to bring their hard-earned billions to invest in this country today, we are dreaming.

Twenty years have gone by since the Poverty Reduction Strategy morphed into vision 2030 without any significant foreign investors coming into Kenya.

The social agenda was to create a just and cohesive society where people enjoy equitable social development in a clean secure environment.

Perhaps we need to go to Rwanda to see for ourselves how this feels and looks like. Once again, we have failed flat in this key factor that supports the creation of an investor attractive environment.

Instead, a typical Kenyan has accepted corruption as a just way of life, rather than an environment that enables any one to rise from dust to glory, while a properly educated Kenyan would support mediocre sentiments pushed by partisan political agenda just because he or she is positioning himself or herself for the goods of a corrupt system.

Lastly, the economic agenda envisaged a Kenya that would maintain a sustained economic growth of 10 percent and above for over 25 years.

Close to 20 years later, the closest we came to eight percent economic growth was 2007 before our desire for free things brought it back to negative two percent.

Transfer of technology

Of interest is the huge variance between the activities that vision 2030 envisages to be put in place to support economic growth and what the so-called manifestos have been proposing. Manifestos drive government budget process. They must be aligned.

It is properly documented in the Vision 2030 outline that the government will develop centres of excellence for MSMEs to promote transfer of technology, build MSME owners’ capacity and market MSME products. Not an inch has been implemented.

Today, the government is busy training young men and women in TVET institutions, producing more paper tigers, rather than developing their entrepreneurial capacity along their specific technical skills, and when they graduate, they prefer to look for jobs rather than create jobs.

I dare you today to count the number of jobless TVET graduates, some of whom even got funds from foundations like those being promoted by local banks because they lacked the entrepreneurial capacity to apply the TVET skill on their own.

The youth are now being promised more funds, and not the envisaged capacity they lack, and are clapping all the way with diplomas, bachelor and master’s degrees.

These diplomas and degrees shall not make you any different, but a one-month practical exposure to entrepreneurship elements such as business ideation, and concepts development shall surely open your eyes.

You would rather demand for the full implementation of vision 2030.

Surely, a lost generation of youth who do not know what they need except looking for quick tenders cannot solve the national confusion perpetuated by the gluttonous older generation in charge. This is a disaster bigger than Covid-19 in waiting.

There are no schools for teaching you hard work, drive, honesty, and determination – the building blocks of entrepreneurship success. Our so-called economists writing these manifestos are either dishonest or have never owned a business.

They are out of touch with the practical capacity development requirements envisaged in Vision 2030 even though tested models exist across Rwanda. They have not offered any lasting solutions envisaged in the Vision 2030.

Sadly, for MSMEs and entrepreneurship development, it is another five years of empty promises and a new pile of at least five million more jobless youth.

Patrick Wameyo is a financial literacy coach at Financial Academy and Technologies, and an entrepreneurship coach at The Entrepreneurship Centre EA.


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