Thursday, March 10, 2011

From January 1st 2030...

Charles Onyango-Obbo is my most favourite columnist. But occassionally a few other columnists come up with stuff that, as my EIA lecturer used to say, 'gets me excited like an atom'.
Kenya has this very ambitious plan to become a 'middle income economy' by the year 2030. Economists and 'policy makers' like my good friend Ken Lagat love to call it 'Vision 2030'. It comes complete with a booklet and tshirts (you've got to have tshirts to popularize anything in Kenya), the former being regarded and treated with lots of respect by people like Ken. Then of course nothing is complete in Kenya, unless you have a government ministry tasked with managing whatever is being 'envisioned'.

I wonder what your vision of 2030 is. Linus Gitahi, CEO of the Nation Media Group, thinks it is quite difficult to predict the events of next week, leave alone next year. However he still was able to "imagine a future future that, based on our current economies and the state of our societies, most think is impossible."
It is this 'future' that i would like to share with you today, and hopefully with some bit of luck, hear what your version of 2030 is. Time to 'visualize'!! I find numbers 1, 10 and 22  interesting. No, wait...that didn't come out right.It is ALL very interesting!!

Here we go. We are now in January 2030, what is the world (and East Africa) looking like? (By Linus Gitahi)
1.  East Africa is one country. The President is a young fellow from western Kenya. (He has just been celebrated as a good performer in the just released secondary schools exams results.)
2.  There is a high-speed train that connects Mombasa to Kinshasa. You can easily travel by road onwards to Nigeria.
3.  The economies of East Africa are growing fast on the back of food exports. Food has become like ‘oil’ as demand far outstrips supply.
4.  America is no longer the world’s leading super power. The most powerful nation is China, followed by the US and United States of Europe (USE). Brazil is a key ally of China against the US.
5.  Middle East countries all are democratic with regular elections held every 4-5 years.
7.  Somalia is a stable, oil-producing nation.
8.  A few port cities have partially been submerged in water (because of rising oceans) and have had to move a little inland at great expense.
9.  Africa is the most important trading partner with Asian countries led by China.
10. Isiolo is the second largest city in Kenya, and has some of the best resort facilities in Africa
11. Nearly 30% of schooling in Kenya is via E-learning at home.
12. Islam is the world's biggest religion.
13. Wind is the biggest source of power in Kenya followed by thermal; hydro is third.
14. Tanzania and Rwanda supply the East Africa (Community) Nation with all gas requirements, and Uganda supplies all the oil. Kenya is the ICT hub for the region.
15. Mandarin is the world’s most spoken language, having overtaken English.
16. Current (2011) pay TV offerings are free to all households. Money is exclusively made through advertising.
17. Calling anywhere in the world is free. People have long forgotten that they used to “look for credit” to call.
18. Per capita income of Britain (which will still be out of the USE) is half what it is today (2011) and they are desperate to join USE.
19. A single handheld device will offer TV, radio and online news - free. It is linked to a satellite and so will not be relying on government frequencies to operate.
20. The ratio of men to women in East Africa is 45:55
21. Today’s media organisations are no longer independent entities, but divisions of telecom companies.
22. Reverse migration is beginning to happen. There are long queues in East African embassies in Europe and America of people wanting to come to East Africa. Many live here illegally.
23. East Africa has won the last World Cup. The next World Cup final slated for East Africa, with Bujumbura, Kigali, Kampala, Isiolo, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam all hosting games.
24. Herbal remedies are the biggest pharma category, and East Africa is a key player in this market globally.
25. Old peoples homes are a fast growing business in East Africa.
*The author is Chief Executive Officer of Nation Media Group.

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