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Kenya election 2017: Where next after Kenyatta’s victory?

Kenya election 2017: Where next after Kenyatta’s victory?

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has defeated his long-time rival Raila Odinga in the country’s general elections, according to the electoral commission.

Despite Odinga rejecting the results and accusing the government of hacking into the ballot system, it appears that President Kenyatta, who has been in office since 2013, will for the second time take charge of East Africa’s biggest economy. 

While the opposition has taken to the streets to protest the result and Odinga’s National Super Alliance (NASA) party has promised to reveal evidence of electoral fraud, ordinary Kenyans have returned to work and are focusing on the future.  

Once the dust settles President Kenyatta, who has been in office since 2013, will need to get to work to improve the lives of ordinary Kenyans, who have become frustrated at the pace of change occurring in the country. Here are five priorities, in no particular order, for the incumbent to tackle during his five-year term:

(1) Inclusive economic growth

Delivering inclusive economic growth which lifts ordinary Kenyans out of poverty and allows small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) should be at the top of the president’s agenda. 

(2) Expanding infrastructure projects

Work has already begun on delivering on multibillion-dollar infrastructure projects such as the $4bn Chinese-built railway from Nairobi to Mombasa. Expanding and delivering the projects will help the economy grow, however, the country’s debt levels must be kept in check. 

(3) Mitigating effects of drought

The Kenyan drought has led to widespread crop failure and livestock depletion, which has pushed food prices up, while also creating conflict between herders and farm owners in parts of the country. Securing Kenya’s food security from future shocks and bringing security back to the rural regions of the country should form part of Kenyatta’s agenda for the next five years.    

(4) Tackling the country’s power shortages

Despite adding 1.3 million homes to the electricity grid in 2016,  45% of Kenyans still don’t have access to electricity. Kenya aims to achieve “universal access”, where 95% of homes will have access to electricity, by 2020. This target is within reach partly due to the rapid uptake of solar power in parts of the country. Kenyatta’s government will need to invest in providing power to those that cannot afford it while ensuring that sector remains attractive to investors. 

(5) Giving youth opportunities

Like most African countries, Kenya’s largest demographic is young people, with the median age being about 19 years old. Creating economic opportunities for the youth will play a major role in determining the fate of Kenyatta’s second term.

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Written by African Business Magazine

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