Leading With A Legacy Of Economic Transformation: Kenya Celebrates 60 Years Of Independence

Published 2 months ago
Aerial view of illuminated city buildings against sky at night,Nairobi,Kenya
Source: Getty Images

“We are not merely making policy, but are nurturing a legacy of boundless growth and shared prosperity under BeTA (Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda),” says Prime Cabinet Secretary and Cabinet Secretary For Foreign Diaspora Affairs, Dr Musalia Mudavadi.

Kenya, the largest economy in East Africa, celebrated 60 years of independence on December 12, 2023.

In June, during the country’s Madaraka Day celebrations, which commemorate the day Kenya attained self-rule in 1963 – a day that would prove pivotal in its pursuit of independence, President William Samoei Ruto stated that “every Kenya African understood [the first Madaraka Day] to be the beginning of the hard and noble work of securing and enhancing social and economic freedom as well.”

Advertisement

“For six decades now, the people of Kenya have worked hard, with admirable diligence and unwavering determination, to perfect the political freedom of their nation through sustained socioeconomic progress,” he added.

The country, in which GDP is projected to grow 5.6% in 2023 and 6.0% in 2024, according to an economic outlook published by the African Development Bank (AfDB) earlier this year, is considered “a powerhouse within the East African community”.

This was the sentiment from Dr Musalia Mudavadi, Prime Cabinet Secretary and Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Diaspora Affairs.

“On the global stage, Kenya’s influence has soared, expanding its footprint in international trade, becoming a key member of regional bodies such as the East African Community (EAC), the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and forging essential economic partnerships like AGOA with the United States and having an Economic Partnership Arrangement with the European Union (EU),” he tells FORBES AFRICA.

Advertisement

Furthermore, the country is committed to global harmony, underscored by its active participation in the United Nations peacekeeping framework.

“As we celebrate 60 years of independence, these achievements and challenges serve as stepping stones toward a future of even greater promise,” Mudavadi adds.

Solidifying Kenya’s commitment to economic development, in 2022, it exported a total of $7.4 billion, globally.

Approximately, $767 million of this revenue came directly from the country’s 89 Export Processing Zones (EPZs). This year, President Ruto announced new plans to expand this number with an additional five new zones to complement this growth and encourage more foreign investment in the country.

Advertisement

The East African nation’s technology ecosystem also holds immense potential, according to Endeavor Kenya Managing Director, Maryanne Ochola.

“The Kenyan startup ecosystem is nascent and full of promise,” she says, adding, “A number of important events saw Kenya turn the tide. These were the laying of the first undersea internet cable, the launch of M-PESA and the establishment of innovation hubs such as iLab at Strathmore University. These

developments underscore the importance of two key assets – enabling infrastructure and physical spaces for like-minded innovators to convene and exchange ideas.”

Mudavadi also emphasizes “Kenya’s pioneering role in the mobile banking revolution” and concludes: “Our legacy, we hope, will be woven from the threads of unity, determination, the resilient spirit of the African, and a relentless pursuit of a better tomorrow for every African.”

Advertisement