02-01-2021 by Freddie del Curatolo
After such a 2020, as is the case all over the world, Kenya too expects a new year to be full of positive news, even though it fears the harmful effects of what happened in the previous months, especially in economic terms.
In the country where we live and about which we report daily, the issues to be considered mainly concern the situation of millions of people who, even before the fateful March 2020, lived in situations bordering on decency and despair.
Galloping inflation is one of the first considerations that concern not only the highest systems, but also the everyday life of ordinary people, especially those who are used to facing everyday life with great uncertainty. The shilling has reached a level of weakness against the dollar and the euro that is pushing up the prices of basic necessities that are not produced nationally to worrying levels. We are talking not only about petrol, but also about medicines (and we know how essential they are these days) and technology, which we would gladly do without if it had not become indispensable for running any kind of business and trade.
The other aspect concerns the public debt, with all the funds borrowed in recent years, which the government has already said it will not be able to meet. This problem could fall on businesses of all kinds in the form of taxes.
Another concern is the approaching election campaign for the 2022 elections. Despite the best efforts of the two historic leaders, President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition Raila Odinga, to preach peace and unity and avert battles that will further weaken the country, the consensus-building process that is likely to begin in the summer of this year will be another "sack" that will not help.
As far as we are concerned, the return of tourism in terms of numbers is not expected before November, even if August could already see good results and from here prospects for reviving a sector that still represents a tenth of Kenya's GDP and that especially on the coast is essential to breathe again.
But it is also true that in order to regain confidence and give a serene and inviting image of this destination, it will be necessary to invest a lot and competition will be even more ruthless.
In the midst of all these thoughts and forecasts, there is everyday life, there is a people and those who live with them who want to resume the growth that until 2019 had given hope for a sustainable future and that had seen edifying examples in some of the Government's choices, such as environmental protection and the many partnerships with friendly nations. Not only those with master-contracts as in the case of the Chinese infrastructures, but also those with the European Union linked to the Blue Economy (relaunch of the fishing industry and conservation policies on the coast) and with France and Scandinavian countries for alternative energy in the Rift Valley. Add to this the latest meetings between Kenyatta and the top management of Italy's ENI.
In short, using a metaphor dear to the Kenyans, we must start marching again because we are preparing to face a time of hard work and goals to be achieved over long distances, such as the marathon. The training is there, let's hope that there is also the awareness and the desire to start from scratch, an aspect that usually rewards African countries more than those accustomed to being in "pole position".
Everyone at the starting line with the same position, as long as no one takes advantage of it and there are no false starts.
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