By David Wanjala
The status of Nairobi as a leading investment destination is no longer in doubt. A recent report by Infomeo, an international business and investment think tank, lists the city as one of the leading destinations for the companies that make up the Fortune 500 in the Middle East and Africa region. For this we must be happy.
But as we celebrate, we shouldn’t lose sight of the problems facing the city. Corruption and Nairobi are virtually bedfellows. The high rate of unemployment vis a vis the rising cost of living means that crime has also become the norm. Then there are the problems of drought, perennial food shortages, frequent power interruption, congestion and garbage: all this while we head towards the General Election. Something needs to be done.
It’s not enough that Nairobi is an investment hotbed; any investment must benefit Kenyans. Government must not lose sight of the importance of providing consumer and welfare goods in the pursuit of heavy technological and infrastructure investment.
Measures must be put in place to ensure that even as high-rise buildings come up and roads expand, Wanjiku is actually feeding and going to school. As we speak, the bulk of profits foreign agencies make locally goes back to their mother countries and this has to change. Can government negotiate employment quotas for locals perhaps? Or guarantee social welfare for the lowest of city dwellers?
As individuals we must also stand up against corruption. Let us begin by riding our country off corrupt leaders and electing those that will truly make a difference. The city needs sober informed leadership, not political carnage.
Youths must endeavor to become entrepreneurs and not just job seekers. This is actually the most viable way out of most of the problems that define the city and only then can the benefits of growth be felt across the board.