PM Raila Odinga: 'Kenya has a major role to play in Africa': Kenya still faces major challenges at home. But Prime Minister Raila Odinga (pictured below and opposite) says the country is now in pole position to play a positive role in Africa and help other countries, especially its neighbours, to resolve their own economic and political problems.

Author:Odinga, Raila
Position::Kenya - Interview

Q What role does your position as prime minister play in the creation of a united Kenya?

The position of prime minister was created as a result of an accord signed between the two biggest parties in the country; it was signed by the president and myself This was a compromise after the disputed elections of 2007. The position comes with the role of supervision and coordination of the functions of government. So it is basically to create efficiency in the running of the government, and to deal with issues of policy. So, basically, my role helps to make the coalition work harmoniously and by extension promote national unity.

Q There seems to be a new sense of peace and harmony in the country, and long may it last. How much will you attribute that sense of inclusiveness to the fact that you are now the prime minister of Kenya?

I think that we have managed to remove the fears and suspicions that existed immediately after the elections. The elections had polarised the country, and it was necessary to diffuse the tensions and make sure that the whole country is treated equally and that resources are distributed in an equitable manner. This has helped to create confidence amongst the people.


Q There is a perception that China and India are now more important to Kenya than your traditional links to the West. How far is this true?

I think it is a wrong perception. It is true that we have expanded our trade to emerging economies such as China and India; it is also true that the companies from those countries are very active in our country, particularly in the areas of infrastructure development, roads, water, and telecommunications, and indeed there is active government-to-government cooperation. But our relationship with these countries is not at the expense of our relationship with our traditional partners in the West, because we continue to expand the relationship with traditional partners.

Q Vision 2030 asks for an annual growth rate of 10% per annum. Where, in your opinion, will this growth come from?

Growth in Vision 2030 is anchored on three pillars: economic, social, and political. We expect that the construction of infrastructural projects will create wealth and employment for the people, and thereby bring growth. We are seriously developing our infrastructure such as roads, railways, airports and air transport, energy, water, and telecommunications. We are also developing our manufacturing sector and agribusiness; we want to add value...

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