ODM leader Raila Odinga has revealed his plan to turn around the country’s economy.
In an open letter to Kenyans on Sunday, Odinga said he is keen to have Kenya grow its own industries and ensure that most of the products consumed in the country are locally produced.
“I have some ideas on how we can have many MADE IN KENYA products in supermarket shelves and shops in a sustained manner that ensures homegrown industrialization,” Odinga stated.
In what appears like his manifesto ahead of next year’s elections, Odinga pledged to build industries by paying attention to skilled laborers and creating an environment where young Kenyans participate in skills competitions.
“Developed nations like Japan, Canada, Germany, Korea have taken their youths to this competition to showcase skills beginning with basics as technicians, tailors, cooks, hairdressers, artisans, craftsmen. They graduated to machinery and manufacturing, then to computing, information processing, and IT,” he said
“Identifying skilled youth need to be done the same way we select athletes and footballers to Olympics and other international competitions.”
He further vowed to establish a permanent central Human Resources Development body to identify skilled youths, organize domestic skills competitions, pick the best performers, organize training camps, and send them out to compete with the world.
“The body will keep data bank on the skilled youth, source support, including extending specific incentives to SMEs ran by craftsmen and artisans and ensure that their passions become professions, industries, and jobs for the nation.”
Odinga says he will push to change the societal mindset that devalues skilled manual workers, adding that not everyone should go to the university as technical institutions offer much-needed technical know-how to spur industrial growth.
“We need to appreciate that the people who design and produce the fine suits and dresses, the handbags, the expensive watches, the elegant shoes, the fine music, the movies, the chairs and all the other things that we love and import are essentially artisans and skilled workers who chose to hone skills.”
“It would be great to see Kenyan youths at the Skills Olympics in Shanghai in October next year. Then we shall be on the path to seeing MADE IN KENYA products on our shelves. We can work together towards this goal,” he concluded