Monthly Archives: August 2014

The Folly of Our Petty Kenyan Mindset: What We Need To Know

Finally, the US woes Africa, and to the naysayers that US has been beaten by China to Africa in pursuit of African goody-goodies, I have some food for thought for you.

I do not in any way profess to know the details of the US investment plan, but the mere mention that it is an attempt to invest in Africa simply tells me a lot. Africa is becoming a strategic region in global economic setup, and the US has been laid back in pushing for an aggressive economic agenda in Africa like China. Despite China’s economic package Kenya is seriously suffering economic woes, and hope is in the U.S (Page 3, The Standard. August, 6 2014: Uhuru’s Presence Expected to End Frosty Relations read paragraph 2, 3, 5 & 6.  Why do we chest thump that we have smitten the U.S. when we are hoping they will save our economy? Did China buy the Eurobond? No, the U.S bought 66% of it, to control a stake in Kenyan economy.)

But, time has come. From whither which Kenya stands to gain?

As I read the Standard newspaper today I find the U.S. plan is more ambitious and in tandem with the global redistribution of resources to spur growth in poor malnourished African countries. As the East-see-bad-in-China fanatics curse the American ranking of Uhuru in Africa as the third best president on the continent, I want to take positive side of Uncle Sam’s move and what it portends for Kenya.

In the first instance Kenya is country whose existence has little effect on the U.S, but the U.S. has a mega effect on every aspect of Kenyan society. From economics, fashion and design, entertainment, military, information technology, we keep using the U.S. as a measure of achievement, apart from middle to long distance athletes we are no comparison even in sports.

This is where I have a born of contention with a friend of mine who recently wrote on his facebook wall insinuating that for the US to rank Uhuru 3, it’s a clear sign of hypocrisy. On that I beg to differ. That ranking was not meant for Kenyans, it was meant for the American public. The U.S. has no business appeasing Kenya, but it has business appeasing American citizens in justifying why they want to redirect investment to Africa and not China. For American leadership is more accountable to the people than Kenya.

Investment is a good form of goody goodies. You do not advance loans with conditions that it is American firms that must build the standard gauge railway. You do not finance the Kenya government through an expensive loan scheme and claim it is the only way out to ensure the loan is returned. What the Americans are doing is for a different goal, redistribution of global wealth and not amassing of gains purely to Washington and New York regardless of how well or bad the projects are. That is my beef with Beijing.

Yet, Beijing’s indulgence is what possibly has made Washington turn to Africa. I’m not the devil who never gives credit to his nemesis.

The US want to expand her global reach, increase her global clout and influence global affairs. That is the negative side, so does China, but the US is my benevolent devil with a better agenda than the self-centered devil of Beijing.

The U.S. wants her global multinational corporations to set base in Africa. When it comes to business, Kenya is geopolitically strategic for Washington’s interests. Let those U.S. companies set up base here, create jobs for Africans, increase their profits and fleece Chinese companies from the raw materials they obtain cheaply from Africa. The U.S. will not advance loans to African countries, but more bring investment through global multinationals like Coke-Cola, to Africa. If this is achieved, then as usual, Africa will again be the playing ground for the East-West tug of war between U.S and China. The odds favor Africa to gain, while Chila is slow in setting up investment opportunities within Africa, they are more intent on extracting raw materials and undertaking value addition in Beijing, Shanghai, or may be Guangzhou among others. So before we condemn East, think about the West, and before you condemn the West, think about the East.

It is on this note that I found sense in CORD’s plea that we as country need the West in as much we need the East. But, with our historical records, the East (China) is a new entrant, the irony being they are more capitalistic than the West, yet they profess socialist communism. But credit too to Uhuru, despite the misgivings of people like my former college friend, you go grab the pie first and then think of what to do next. That pie is a great investment we should not miss in the U.S attempts to strangle China of resources by ensuring they invest in value addition in Africa, relocate their companies to Africa for cheap labor and raw materials which are hard to come by in China. Remember U.S. company’s have a huge stake in Chinese companies too.

So, despite being pawns in the East-West tug of war, isn’t the U.S justified in proclaiming Uhuru the 3rd best president in Africa? Cordashians will dispute this, because of the 13 point agenda.  Jubileeans amuse me by being skeptical of Uhuru’s visit to the US. Cord applauds that, it’s what they want, to mend fences with traditional development partners.

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