NATIONAL YOUTH SUMMIT 2013
THE SCENARIOS FOR THE FUTURE
Friday, 1st February 2013
Institute of Economic Affairs
pleases me to share with us this morning. Thanks to Emmanuel Dennis and team
for constantly reminding us that we have a responsibility to our beloved
country. We are here because we desire a better Kenya. One that we can proudly
associate with. This calls for deliberate actions by each of us individually
and collectively. At 50 there are many things I hope to have achieved. I think
you too. I would like to be a proud father of well developed children. To be a
man whose life has made a difference to humanity. To be a person described with
three words: Righteous, Just and of Integrity. What about our country at 50? In
August, 1962 The Kenya we Want
Conference was held here in Nairobi. It aimed to take stock of Kenya then and
“to stimulate constructive thinking of what Kenya the people wanted after
independence”. The convention envisioned a country where people lived in peace,
had a quality education and made gainful employment in whatever industry they
put their efforts in. They envisioned an inclusive and supportive society.
years later, we have much to be proud of and much to be ashamed of. We are
proud of our great natural endowment, but ashamed that we have not used it for
the good of all. We are proud of our diverse cultures and communities, but
ashamed that instead of being better together we are bitter about each other.
Proud of great brains but ashamed that we have not given them room to innovate
and reach their highest potentials (at some point we even persecuted them for
thinking differently). Proud of hardworking people but ashamed that we have not
created sufficient opportunities for them to find or create gainful employment.
Proud of a youthful population (78 per cent below 35 years), but ashamed that
their potential remains largely untapped and are only engaged for advancing
selfish – economic and political – interests. Proud that we have one of the
most literate populations around the region, but ashamed that we have not used
this to tap into the global service opportunities. Proud of having democratic
space, but ashamed that we have not adhered to democratic values and
principles. This must not be the case moving forward. We must get down to the
business of undoing our shame and building our pride.
we gather under the theme of My Country My Responsibility, it’s worth noting
that the future we once desired and wanted to live in is here with us. I am
particularly happy with the theme for it is inward looking. For many times we
have looked at what can be done to us by Kenya. Today we are asking what we can
do to Kenya. To make it the country we desire. To be part of the solution as
much as we could have been part of the problem. To make national building our
individual and collective agenda. This realization and the immensity of the
challenges facing us can either make us do something or recline and give up. I pray we do the former.
in line with our three pillars of Peace, Leadership and Entrepreneurship, what
does the future look like? What are the scenarios of the future? In the year
2000 the IEA Kenya developed scenarios dabbed Kenya at the crossroads. In it
there was a possibility of an elnino scenario that would see a total collapse
of Kenya. Then there was envisioned a maendeleo scenario where focus would be
on economic growth but without clear regulative and distributive mechanisms
only a few would benefit and this would lead to a disaster (year 2007/8) is
indicative of this scenario. Then there was envisioned a katiba scenario where
focus would be on constitutional and institutional reforms, there would be so
much faith in the constitution but then without parallel economic recovery
there would be little to offer hope to the many unemployed in Kenya. This feels
like the road we are currently in. Lastly was envisioned the flying geese where
we as country would collectively share the burden of nation building. Where we
would labour together through the solutions to our country. We would have
visionary leaders who walk the talk and keep their word. They would harness us
to apply our potential in all aspects – economic, social, cultural, political,
spiritual etc. I feel this is the scenario we would break into depending on the
choices we make in the next four weeks. How badly do we want it?
a result of the Kenya at the Crossroads conversations, The IEA Kenya put
together a team of 42 young Kenyans in 2003 to deliberate on a national vision.
This was dabbed The Promise of our Generation. The average age of the team was
27 years and hence they dabbed it Vision 2027. Their desire was to think
constructively of how Kenya could usher herself into the flying geese scenario.
It was thus no surprise that in 2005 Kenya embarked on the process of
developing Vision 2030. So where we are now
headed? And what role shall we the youth play in making the Kenya we want to
come true? This was the question that saw the IEA Kenya bring together youth
from across the country to reflect on possible scenarios of the future. I
invite you to reflect on their output....
we are standing at a crossroad. We cannot stand there for long. We must decide
and move forward. But here comes my
concern? Are we ready to make that choice? A choice out of a clear conscience
and not just to clear our conscience? As you have seen, it will depend on us.
And this calls us to ask and answer the right questions as Dr. Bitange
challenged us yesterday. Questions of what can I do to promote peace,
leadership and entrepreneurship? Questions of what are my special skills and
talents that I can use to make Kenya a better place? Knowing that each gives
what they have. This is not the time to blame anyone for past wrongs, it is
time to right them. It is time to rise to the occasion and be counted. It is
time to resolve that Kenya shall be changed not by them but by me. That Kenya
shall export talent not of others but mine too. That Kenyan shall be on the
world map for all the good things done not by others but by me. That I will be
the peace maker Kenya needs. That I will be the leader Kenya needs. To provide
solutions those are long overdue. That I will be the entrepreneur that Kenya
needs. That if it is to be then I will do it.
is a focal point, an epicentre of development in the region. Over the years we
have attracted investors and partners in all spheres of life. We not only host
world acclaimed institutions such as those affiliated to the UN but are also
attracting heavy investments in technology and service industries. I have in
mind Ihub, 88MPH, Konza City just to mention but a few. We produce the best in
many fields - sports, education, ICT innovation etc. However, world leadership
in this and other fields requires we the youth to think and act differently.
Times have changed and they are changing real fast? Have we changed? The world
is moving to a knowledge economy where ideas and their pursuit has greater
value. We are becoming borderless and much more internationally integrated.
Thanks to technology, for as you listen to me now, you could be updating your
friend across the globe. Innovations that would have attracted a laughter of
mockery years ago are today made possible. The world is becoming a village,
what about the villagers? Are we changing how we do things. The finesse with
which we package and deliver our ideas.
We cannot do things the same old way and expect new results.
It is time
we change the story. It’s time to develop other hubs in finance, in
agriculture, in sports, in arts and culture. It is time we used technology for
a productive course. To research, develop and deliver cutting edge innovations.
To build on the good of the past as we correct the wrongs of the same. To focus
on what matters most – improving our health care, food production,
environmental conservation, and creating employment. To commit ourselves to the
ideals of justice, integrity, human dignity and meritocracy. To work and create
opportunities for all so that we can develop together. To avoid avoid lonely
ascents for as John F. Kennedy wisely advised ‘you cannot protect the minority
who are rich without addressing the plight of the majority who are poor’.
Towards this we have learnt an important lesson from the older generation that
you cannot walk alone. They will differ and vehemently so but when one needs
the others support they are there to help. This we need to emulate.
have two major opportunities. Regional Integration and Kenya’s Devolution.
While others may see only the political opportunities to this two I see a
peace, leadership and entrepreneurial advantage. Devolved units provide us with
an opportunity to develop our leadership and professional skills, to experiment
in peace ideas but most important to nurture our innovations. Regional
integration gives us a wider platform to market our innovations and products.
When others are thinking of power and sharing the spoils of devolution, I
suggest we spend time developing inter-county cooperation that will leverage on
our county’s competitive and hence comparative advantage. So that Kwale county
seeks cooperation with Bomet county. That they will supply them with all the
nuts and Bomet will supply them with Milk. That Transzoia will produce the
Maize and Machakos will produce Fruits. Our future is in cross border
cooperation and trading. This is the conversation we need to have. That instead
of each county having all services separately, we have shared services and
facilities located on boarder areas hence reap on the economies of scale. Our
focus should be not so much on sharing wealth but in creating that wealth.
Creating conducive environments for investment.
future is in consolidating our efforts. Creating cooperatives and companies
that can leverage on economies of scale. It is in coordinating efforts so as to
ensure that we are not duplicating efforts. It’s in building each other’s
competitive edge so that we each shine in what we do best. The future is in
technology not as something to be happy about but as something we use to solve
our everyday problems. The future has never been brighter than when we have so
much behind us to learn from. I am hopeful for I am seeing people with
potential. Today I stand and urge you who may be seeing HOPEISNOWHERE, to just
tilt your eye and see HOPEISNOWHERE. We can be the best we ever were. We can
rise to the highest of our potential. We can do it and do it with style. And
when all is said and done, let much more be done than said.
In Service to God and Our Country
Abraham Rugo Muriu