Friday, 9 December 2011

Kenya Vision 2030: Dreams and Destiny

Every so often I come across young people who have unflattering opinions about Vision 2030 and quite frankly a sizeable population of the youth just couldn’t be bothered about it. One very striking characteristic of development observable in all periods is the inability of people to envision their destiny. Understandably, when we look forward we naturally see insurmountable obstacles to future progress which can be powerfully disillusioning. Those obstacles create debilitating perceptual walls which are some of the most persistent obstacles to social progress. History however bears out that time and again there are no insurmountable obstacles only people who failed to perceive insurmountable obstacles as opportunities.

Vision 2030 can be described as our nation’s collective aspiration to become a globally competitive and prosperous nation with a high quality of life by 2030. It is a holistic long-term development blue print outlining broad economic, social, and political policies aimed at transforming Kenya into a newly industrializing middle-income country providing a high quality of life to all its citizens by 2030 in a clean and secure environment.

To the majority poor and particularly the unemployed youth who have no illusions about the difficulties facing our country, Vision 2030 is not music to their ears but a grandiose plan which they don’t expect to materialize, at least, in their lifetime. Given that the youth of Kenya constitute a staggering 78.3 percent of the Kenyan population, their indifference to Vision 2030 constitutes a powerful perceptual barrier to its realization and the development of our nation.

In all fairness to the disenchanted youth, no single factor is responsible for underdevelopment and given the sheer complexity of the process of economic development, certainly no single policy or strategy can bring about economic development. The ability to achieve sustained development is as much a political and social phenomenon as it is economic and current thinking in the field of development encompasses economic, social, and political policies that should be put in place to achieve development. Nonetheless, development is fundamentally a social process by which society collectively moves from lesser levels of self-actualization to ever-increasing levels and the process is as intricate as it is delicate and sensitive.

But be that as it may, development is predicated on political dynamics that at a minimum are neutral towards development and ideally are highly supportive to development. It is also a fact that there can be no development without economic growth. In view of the foregoing, Kenya’s Vision 2030 subsumes the economic, social, and political components making it a holistic and feasible long-term development blue-print for transforming our beloved country into a globally competitive and prosperous nation with a high quality of life by 2030. Vision 2030 is without a doubt an exceptional plan that we all should be proud of and determine to ensure its successful implementation.

It is important however to have things in perspective. Vision 2030 in reality creates the framework upon which sustainable development should take place. It creates a proper environment that is conducive for the process of development to occur. Vision 2030 should not be seen as automatically resulting in development but rather as a strategy for contributing to development. As long as Vision 2030 is erroneously viewed as the principal source and the driver of our nation’s development, we will have inaccurate expectations something which is bound to make us a terminally disillusioned lot.

Perhaps the most direct benefit that Vision 2030 confers to us the youth with which we can make something of our individual lives is creation of real opportunities for economic gain and self-actualization. Obviously, opportunities mean nothing to those who are not perceptive and those who are ill-prepared to take advantage of them. What enables an individual to discern an opportunity and prepares an individual to take advantage of it is quality education. Whereas a sizeable population of the youth has the requisite education and training, a lot more should be done to increase their numbers and the quality of education and training.

Personally, I sincerely believe that Vision 2030 is attainable and to think otherwise is self-defeating. As long as we think that it is not achievable, we will not care enough to engage in the process yet our full and effective engagement is the very thing that will guarantee it delivers the right opportunities for us. As long as we think that it is not achievable, we won’t be in a position to forcefully demand its timely and successful implementation. And as long as we do not demand its successful implementation, the government will not be obliged to deliver and the status quo will be self-perpetuating. The government has embarked on a campaign dubbed wakilisha in which it seeks to encourage Kenyans to develop a sense of ownership of Vision 2030. For the campaign to be successful however, it must create avenues for full and effective public participation.

If indeed we desire to be the proud citizens of a prosperous African nation in which most all citizens enjoy a high quality of life, then we must rise to the occasion and make Vision 2030 our business. Being indifferent to Vision 2030 is simply not in our best interest. We must answer the call of duty to build our nation which is the only enduring legacy we can bequeath our future generations. We must dare to believe that Vision 2030 is possible. We must make Vision 2030 our business.

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