The future of Kenya between consumerism, fast industrialization and extreme poverty

AlJazeera posted a video report on the prospects for Kenya’s economy entitled “Counting the costs? Kenya: the new factory of the world”.

The video shows a country polarized between fast industrialization, consumerism, and the extreme poverty of more than 40% of its population.

Kenya expects to have an annual growth of 10% by 2017, thus becoming one of the world’s biggest economies. In the next three years, the economy will increase by 6.5% on average, with huge resources devoted to make Kenya a fully industrialized country by 2030 (the so called “2030 plan”). With such prospects, AlJazeera stresses the government should take the lead to improve the living conditions of the 42% of Kenyans living on less than 1 dollar a day.

A good part of these improvements is expected to positively affect the country’s informal economy (employing about 11.5 million people), with the government helping locals to access loans, enforcing some kind of protectionism to prevent foreign (and cheaper) goods to flood the market, create employment opportunities along the railroad line that is under construction to link Kenya to other East African countries, and introducing measures to streamline informal production.

Interestingly, the report also stresses that the “cultural set up” of the country does not favor industrialization, but rather the growth of the tertiary sector with Kenyan expecting to become “employees”, rather than industrial workers.

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