Kenya Poised to Become the ‘Singapore of Africa-US Economist


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Kenya Poised to Become the ‘Singapore of Africa-US Economist Kenya is often compared to Singapore, a prosperous city-state in Southeast Asia, for various reasons, including both countries having relatively stable governments, and being committed to economic development.

In recent years, Kenya has made significant progress in improving its infrastructure, attracting foreign investment, and developing its technology sector.

On Wednesday, June 14, American Economist Tyler Cowen assessed President William Ruto’s administration and various milestones achieved over the years, concluding that the country could develop much faster than expected to become the “Singapore of Africa.”

In an article titled Kenya Is Poised to Become the ‘Singapore of Africa, published in the Washington Post, Cowen says the East African country is seen as a potential economic powerhouse in Africa due to several factors.

Among them are an attractive year-round climate and a locale with a reasonable level of English fluency. Kenya also had a growth rate of about 5.5 per cent in 2022, despite negative shocks to imported food and energy prices.

With growth rates ranging from 4 to 5 per cent since 2004, Cowen believed Kenya would continue soaring higher.

“Where in Africa might such a comparable cluster of companies evolve? Unfortunately, some of Africa’s leading nations have experienced major troubles lately. Economic growth has slowed in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and the country has only begun to make much-needed reforms; Ethiopia, the second-most populous country, just went through a civil war; political problems and power shortages continue to plague South Africa.

“For the time being, those places are not in the running to be a dominant sub-Saharan economic hub, if only because expats will be reluctant to move there,” Cowen noted.

The American Economist, who lectures at George Mason University, added that the country has a young and growing population, with a median age of 19, and the population is expected to reach 100 million by 2050.

Despite Tanzania having a larger population than Kenya, the latter, he underlined, is much wealthier and has a superior infrastructure. Internet access, part of Kenya’s digital infrastructure, is ranked among the most reliable in Africa.

This large and youthful workforce could boost the economy significantly, under President Ruto’s policies that demonstrate a strong commitment to education, with one of the best curricula in Africa.

Cowen added that Kenya’s literacy rate is over 80 per cent, and its universities are ranked among the best in Africa. With such a well-educated workforce, Kenya continues to attract foreign investment and develop its technology sector.

“In contrast, a locale with a reasonable level of English fluency and an attractive year-round climate will get a lot of attention — and that nicely describes Kenya,” the American Economist stated.

The country’s strategic location, along the Indian Ocean, is also vital for trade with the outside world.

Mombasa and Lamu Ports were cited as major hubs for trade and transportation in East Africa and the entire continent.

“Countries with a coast also find it easier to stay in touch with the rest of the world, and Kenya has relatively easy access to China and India, large markets and sources of capital. In the current geopolitical climate, East Africa is attracting more interest from more sources than is most of West Africa,” Cowen stated.

This strategic location can help Kenya become a major regional centre for business and commerce.

According to the Economist, Kenya could easily lead the entire African continent should the government maintain or expand its economic growth rate and stability.

Despite the positives, Kenya still has to curb corruption, political instability, and regulatory barriers to market entry, making it difficult to attract foreign direct investment.




Kenya Poised to Become the ‘Singapore of Africa-US Economist

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