An International Centre of Excellence in Public Policy and Research

Kenya’s Potential to Contain the Effects 0f COVID-19 and to Put the Economy Back on Track to Enhance the Feasibility of the Big Four Agenda

The year 2020 was historic globally. It was when the deadly Corona virus hit the world, taking lives and ravaging the world’s economy. Governments advised their citizens to work from home, schools were closed, businesses closed down, countries imposed lockdowns, and the health care systems of many nations were brought to a standstill with the overwhelming virus threatening to wipe out the entire globe. The ruthless fangs of this virus did not leave behind Kenya; our economy underwent a test of time from the overwhelming effects brought about by the pandemic. In twelve years, it was the first time that the country’s economy was heading to the south with a considerable percentage. However, there is always a light at the end of a tunnel, and finally, vaccines were discovered, immunity was acquired, and some sort of new normal attained. A silver lining at the end of the day, a positive thought that gives us hope that our country can actually come of the woods and possibly even more robust than we ever imagined.

Potentials in Achieving Food Security

Foremost, the country’s economic backbone, this we should use a tool to our advantage to reawaken our economy back to its former glory. Agriculture is a diverse and massive sector from livestock, fish farming, forestry, and crop farming, all of which the country can benefit in several ways. The ministry of agriculture should strategize its approach and focus on helping small-scale farmers, providing extension services for farmers, providing researched content to farmers, educating them on the modern methods of farming, provide seeds and fertilizers for farmers. This will, in turn, promote production both at household levels and even the surpass, which can be sold at the market, improving the country’s food basket. The government should encourage agriculture and popularise it among youths this way we are creating jobs for the young generation. Large-scale farmers should also be considered, providing tax relief, extending financial aid to struggling companies, subsidizing resources required for production, and promoting local agricultural products and raw materials to external markets. In so doing, the country benefits by increased revenue and even foreign exchange.

Potentials for Manufacturing

The government should focus on promoting domestic production and invention. Creation of more Export Processing Zones in the country, enabling local companies, reviving struggling companies to boost the country’s revenue collection, locally produced products, and products for export. Domestic production of quality products will bar us from outsourcing them from abroad we become independent. In promoting the goods for export, improving the standards of locally produced goods is vital. This way, we can compete variably with goods from other countries and even be the primary source. This will promote Kenyan’s business not only regionally but also globally. Improving the manufacturing sector does enable the promotion of some of the big four agendas in the country, the rise of the manufacturing industry, creation of job opportunities for citizens, facilitating universal health care through the use of locally produced equipment, and even upholding affordability of health care services. Kenya has the more significant advantage over other countries in the region; our access to the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea gives us an upper hand in conducting business with the Eastern countries and the Middle East.

One thing the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us is that technology is paramount it created an opportunity for us to appreciate the impacts of technology in modern life. People worked online, classes were attended virtually, business was done online, and even celebrations were conducted online. This was a clear indicator that the future is dependent on advanced technology. As a measure of creating a sustainable and hospitable for better business and more substantial post-covid era, the government should consider investing in technology. E-commerce is one sector that should be looked into, and it is one that many countries in the region have not yet exploited. In creating a suitable online-based trading arena, jobs will be done for the youths, opportunity for market and expansion of manufacturing companies, improvement of living standards in the community. In advancing in technology as a country, we will be creating a charming prospect for local business, the regional hub of business, and even luring foreign investors who could set up their business within the country.

Potentials for Universal Health Coverage

The coronavirus pandemic did shake up our health system in various ways. At this point, we knew that we needed more ICUs in county and sub-county hospitals, ventilators, oxygen gases, more health workers, and much more skills. And in an aim to curb the situation, we did try as much procure all these. It was a wake-up call to the ministry of health and the government at large to step up and improve the state of our hospitals. The government should consider having more health workers deployed in all levels of hospitals, procuring equipment not only for Covid related cases but all, incorporating the use of technology and modern technology in medicine and the use of locally made equipment, and promoting research work. In this manner, we will have a country with a robust healthcare system, jobs will be created, and living standards will improve, better and quality health care for citizens, promoting local innovation and local production. A healthier country most definitely does result in a wealthier country.

Way Forward

Kenya can emerge out of the covid-19 economical surge better than most countries. The government should focus on improving such sectors to enable better economic growth. Focusing on these areas will also retort to the President’s Big Four Agenda, improvement of the manufacturing industry, universal healthcare, food security, and housing. Governments will need to be tactical in creating apt economic strategies during the post-covid era since it includes adapting to a new normal while keeping upward growth. Post covid recovery journey is long and will require the government to team with citizens, multi-national agencies, regional and global parties to emerge a success.

By Ian Kiplangat, a student at Kabarak University

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