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Some of the key infrastructure expansion projects the government has embarked on include the Nairobi Thika superhighway, the Lamu Port, Kisumu Airport, among others. “The ministry provides interventions to identified bottlenecks that communities undergo in an initiative expected to create various economic centres in the country,” noted Mr Mailu.
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) drafted about 10 years ago have inspired development efforts and helped set global and national priorities to improve the living standards of the poor, a new report says.
The United Nations MDGs 2011 Report says poverty continues to decline in many countries, boosted by improved economic growth. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon says in the report:
“Since the targets were adopted, they have raised awareness and shaped a broad vision that remains the overarching framework for the development activities of the body.”
He says MDGs have lifted millions of people out of poverty and saved lives. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sate for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030 Edward Sambili said knowledge among policymakers was high and having government departments and ministries mainstream the targets in their development projects will fast-track achievements.
Dr Sambili noted that increased budgetary allocation to agriculture-related sectors such as irrigation to more than 10 per cent of the total estimates is a reflection of the government’s determination to reduce extreme poverty and hunger.
“This is the kind of investment required, exceeding the 10 per cent as suggested in the Maputo Declaration, that will spur economic growth in the country and achieve some objectives,” he said.
The government of Finland, for example, recently gave a grant of Sh634 million (6.345 euros), while Kenya is expected to contribute Sh65 million towards the achievement of MDGs in Kenya.
The fund is expected to enhance national and district level capacities to plan, coordinate, implement, monitor and accelerate MDGs-related development initiatives.
Ms Theresa Zitting, deputy head of Mission embassy of Finland however warned that creation of wealth alone cannot reduce extreme poverty and hunger.
“We partner with Kenya to mainstream the MDGs in Kenya’s development processes,” she said, adding that if the goals are implemented, the country stands a better chance to meet them by 2015.
Mr G M Mailu, the national co-ordinator in the project implementation unit under the MDGs in the ministry, underscored the massive investment made towards infrastructure as key to creating an enabling environment for various sectors to thrive.
“With a poor transport network, the cost of transporting goods is high and this is passed on to the end users who will ever be trapped in poverty and hunger,” he noted.
Some of the key infrastructure expansion projects the government has embarked on include the Nairobi Thika superhighway, the Lamu Port, Kisumu Airport, among others.
“The ministry provides interventions to identified bottlenecks that communities undergo in an initiative expected to create various economic centres in the country,” noted Mr Mailu.
The report further says robust growth in the half of the decade reduced the number of people living on less than a dollar a day from about 1.8 billion in 1990 to 1.4 billion in 2005.
The survey also says corresponding poverty rate dropped from 46 per cent to 27 per cent.
Current trends, the report argues, suggest that the momentum of growth in the developing world remains strong enough to sustain the progress needed to reach the global poverty-reduction target.
The latest World Bank report projects poverty to fall below 15 per cent by 2015 as compared to the MDGs at 23 per cent.
Projections from sub-Saharan Africa, with Kenya being a key economic node in the region, indicate that economic growth projections are slightly higher than previously predicted.
Among other projected trends and growth performance, the number of the poor is likely to fall below 36 per cent.
As Africa is expected to gather steam as the next economic growth frontier, probably seeping from the one witnessed in Asia.
Kenya is expected to tap into this growing interest as it is considered a hub in finance, communication and transport in the region.
Employment is seen as a key growth indicator to boost the reduction of extreme poverty and hunger.
With foreign investors favouring Kenya as the preferred choice to other countries in the region, this is expected to play a key role in reducing the number of the poor.
The African Development Bank reported recently that the number of the middle-class in Kenyans is on the rise, translating to improved incomes and stability in the country.
By WINSLEY MASESE firstname.lastname@example.org
PARASTATAL heads who signed the Mombasa port community charter risk being sacked if their agencies do not deliver on the contents of the new entity. The charter signed between the government and the private sector aims at improving the movement of cargo from the port into hinterland