President Uhuru Kenyatta has underscored the need for closer collaboration between governments, development partners and international financial institutions in dealing with the harsh economic and social effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Saying global bounce back will not be swift enough without the involvement of Africa, the President reminded development partners and international financial institutions to support African governments in their post-Covid-19 recovery plans.
“It must be borne in mind that there cannot be a global bounce back that leaves Africa behind. Our Development Partners and the International Financial Institutions should take a long term view, and dispense with any short term requirements or considerations that would only serve to slow down Africa’s recovery,” President Kenyatta said.
The Head of State spoke Tuesday during the second edition of the KUSI Ideas Festivals held both physically in the lakeside city of Kisumu and virtually for remote participants.
The KUSI Ideas Festival, sponsored by the Nation Media Group, was launched in 2019 as part of the media group’s 60th anniversary celebrations.
In his pre-recorded message, the President also challenged African governments to consider responses that do not just seek to address direct and immediate impacts of Covid-19 but also those that result in wider sustaining of systems for the wellbeing of citizens.
“As governments, and in the spirit of Pan Africanism, it is necessary for us to consider responses that do not just seek to address direct and immediate impacts of Covid-19 but also those that result in wider sustaining of systems for the wellbeing of our people,” the President said.
Citing Kenya as an example, the Head of State said his administration has designed the post Covid-19 Economic Recovery Strategy (ERS) that is aimed at accelerating the country’s economic recovery for higher and sustained growth.
He said the ERS will offer solutions for mitigating the pandemic’s negative economic and social challenges while at the same time laying the basis for an even more prosperous, just and equitable Kenya for all.
“The Covid-19 pandemic was bound to affect more seriously the vulnerable part of our populations. Cognizant of this fact, my Government moved fast and introduced several welfare measures to cushion the elderly Kenyans, the urban poor and vulnerable persons and businesses in the economy.
“We introduced a 100% Tax Relief for persons earning a gross monthly income of up to Kshs 24,000, reduced VAT to 14% from 16% as well as the reduced Income Tax Rate at both personal and corporate levels from 30% to 25%,” the President said.
President Kenyatta said the Government will introduce long-lasting comprehensive measures to replace the short-term reliefs and to power the economy post-Covid-19
He said through the lessons learnt during the pandemic, the Government will focus on healthcare, promotion of the digital economy, FinTech, education and manufacturing.
The President pointed out that fostering agility within Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector will be instrumental in building back better, saying regulatory barriers that prevent businesses from rapidly adapting to changing circumstances should be removed and enterprises be encouraged to innovate.
In his recorded speech, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame echoed President Kenyatta’s sentiment on the need for enhanced collaboration between actors in curbing the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Continued collaboration is key in order to emerge in safety and in prosperity. In Rwanda, we have learnt that progress comes from ensuring participation and inclusivity,” President Kagame said.
Other speakers included Kisumu Governor Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o, Kisumu West MP Olago Aluoch and NMG Board Chair Dr. Wilfred Kiboro.