Recent infrastructural developments in Kenya including the famed Thika Road Super Highway and the 1,700km Lamu Port and Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET), undoubtedly indicates how crucial, reliable and efficient infrastructure is to economic, social development and the promotion of pro-poor growth as well as international competitiveness.
The need for new infrastructure however, is a requisite. Trends such as China’s bullet train, Singapore’s Changi Airport, the Royal London Hospital, Saudi Arabia’s Princess Nora Bint AbdulRahman University for Women and Brazil’s Cidade Inteligente Búzios are now essential and timely ingredients for productivity and growth.
Kenya’s largest infrastructure deficit is found in the power sector. Frequent power blackouts are seen as a huge impediment in the adoption of high-speed rail networks aimed at bringing some of the most important changes in the regional connectivity.
While South Africa has the most developed infrastructures in the continent, it is important to note that Kenya is not alone in facing the challenge of poor infrastructure. In as much as the Kenyan government can look to domestic sources of capital to improve infrastructure, as well as international development partners such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank, there is also a significant number of international players looking at the country for places to invest into properly structured projects that offer a reasonable rate of economic return, particularly when they involve public private partnerships (PPPs).
If the Kenyan government can succeed in working with the private sector to ramp up the levels of investment, it would be transformational on so many levels. Effectively addressing the infrastructure gap – a task that faces Kenyan policy-makers and Vision 2030 implementers, it would make the economy fully functional, strengthen the transport industry, power, health, education, agricultural, water and sewage sectors, improving quality of access for all and significantly increasing economic capacity.
It would also give Kenya wider access to its large natural resource deposits, enabling exports on a much more efficient basis to resource-hungry countries such as China and Japan.
When these challenge addressed, opportunities will continue to increase, signaling the likelihood of even stronger growth rates going forward. Kenya is poised to rise even further, a bright future awaits.