The spectacular growth of many economies in East Asia over the past 50 years is what Kenya is paying close attention to, President Uhuru Kenyatta disclosed on Tuesday.
Countries in this part of the world have become richer faster than nations in any other region of the world leading to what has been referred to as the ‘Asian Miracle’.
This is an example President Kenyatta says Kenya will follow if it has to speed up the realization of its development goals.
In his speech, during the State Of The Nation address in Parliament, President Kenyatta said his administration has made tremendous strides such as hastening the issuance of title deeds, increasing road networks, construction of a modern railway, and an increase of power production so as to create accelerated development.
He gave an example of England which took hundreds of years to industrialize, compared to China which took only 35 years to do so. According to President Kenyatta, the pace at which China did this is where Kenya draws inspiration.
“It took England 200 years to industrialize; the United States of America 160 years, and Japan 110 years.”
“We look not towards those nations but to China, which compressed the progressive economic changes experienced by those countries into a single generation.” He said
He said the Four Asian Tigers of Hong Kong and Taiwan (Part of China), Singapore, and the Republic of Korea took 25 years to industrialize instead of the hundreds of years.
Kenyatta said just like these countries, the policy choices of his administration have been about reducing Kenya’s development timelines through aggressively implemented projects.
“We are moving with speed because there is no time like the present to deliver the dreams of Kenyans for a better tomorrow.” He noted
China and the East Asian countries, according to President Kenyatta “contracted their development timelines by implementing aggressive interventions on multiple sectors of the economy, simultaneously.” He said this move reduced the intervals between the phases of industrialization and allowed them to catch up with the West.
He believes that if the acceleration models worked for these countries, then they can work for Kenya as well.
“If these countries industrialized in 25 years because of the bold choices they made, we too can set the stage for economic transformation and achieve it in record time.” He said with optimism but was quick to warn that corruption remains the only threat to this dream and that Kenya has no choice but slay it.