John O. Kakonge


Why do African countries continue to export raw materials only to buy them back in the form of finished products? It is high time African countries focused their efforts on building up industries, skills and technologies so they can produce their own high quality products, creating much-needed jobs and income for their people.


Key stakeholders - governments, donors and the private sector - must change their attitudes to O&M and ensure that its requirements are factored into all projects, so as to help ensure that equipment attain their planned life-span.


Any project bears possibilities of unforeseen difficulties and surprises, but adequate preparation, good governance and transparency are key to managing these. Looking at a number of common mistakes from previous development programmes can prevent repeating them and remind of important lessons often taken for granted.


Kenya is building huge infrastructural projects such as the Thika Highway and the Lamu Port. These have been accompanied by malpractice in construction, land grabs, displacements, environmental degradation with no or insufficient information to the public. The environmental impact assessments that should prevent such malpractices are ineffective.


Kenya’s newly discovered oil is located in a part of the country marked by extreme poverty, high levels of illiteracy and insecurity primarily arising from years of neglect by successive governments. With the discovery of large water reserves as well, hopes in the region are high that life is set to improve for the people. But how can these dreams be realised?


Political succession remains a thorny issue especially in Africa, where presidents are reluctant to step down, and more so prevent the grooming of qualified successors. To understand why peaceful and democratic transition is often elusive in many countries, it is useful to explore the reasons underlying the reluctance of leaders to hand over power.