Did you hear the big news last week?
Kenya is now ranked as the 143rd richest country in the world. ish. I mean, if you consider the UNDP’s Human Development Indicators as a fair way of ranking nations, we are 143rd.
Now, I know some of you are thinking ‘Isn’t that horrible? Placing 143 out of 187 is like finishing a marathon right before the staff close shop and go home.’
To those naysayers, I say this: Yes, it’s horrible. But it’s less horrible than it was before.
You see, there’s a little green triangle pointing upwards next to our country’s name. This means that we are doing better than we were before. How much better? Well, you remember in 2007, we only placed at 147; but 2010 we made a serious comeback and snagged 144th. Now we’re at 143. At this rate, by 2111, we’ll place in the top 50 and there’ll be no stopping us then.
Although the ‘facts and figures’ in the report indicate that we actually got poorer, and also that the only reason we got better ranking is that other poor countries got even poorer, I think we should at least embrace the little gain in rank. While ‘experts’ and ‘analysts’ will point at the suffering economy, the thinning out of the middle class and the increased prices of commodities as proof that Kenya is on the decline, I want to remind you of the gains we ARE making.
Our Prime Minister is an excellent example of this success. He continues to rank in the top 5 highest paid leaders in the world for the 4th year in a row. And that’s just the income we know about. If we counted all the side payments and endorsements he makes, he’d consistently top the charts. If that’s not prosperity, I don’t know what is.
Then of course, it’s worth noting that narcotics is now a multi-billion dollar industry in Kenya. That’s right, we are moving close to 200 Billion Shillings worth of drugs per year. Or more. We don’t really keep track. Plus, if you watched KTN yesterday, you know that the people keeping track are also partaking in the spoils, so that’s really like having a presidential candidate count his own votes. I’m not saying that we’re on Afghanistan’s level. Clearly not, those guys are ranked 173rd! War or not, we’re doing better than them.
We’re not doing better than many African countries though. Unfortunately, we’re not even in the top 10. Or 20. But you know what, we’re not in the bottom 10. Or 20. We’re smack in the middle. This means that we are the heart of the continent.
So even though an overwhelming majority of the country(30 million people) say they are dissatisfied with living conditions and well over half technically cannot afford to live in Kenya,..we still have some of the highest paid people in Africa. Alas, the world. In fact, somewhere in the UNDP report, there was a statement that basically said that if our ex-patriots and foreign investors stopped investing in the country we would inevitably crash. While many look at this as a measure of instability and unsustainable growth, I think we should look at it like ‘Rich people like to live here so we are destined to be rich.’
In all seriousness, the state of the country is pretty dire. The other day the price of cooking gas doubled. Sugar companies are still hoarding sugar, keeping prices high. Goods we have locally are being imported because it’s cheaper than buying locally because of greed amongst local monopolies. The rich are getting richer by digging so deep into our pockets, they’re tickling our knee caps and pulling up our socks.
But the rich are doing good, so I’m sure they don’t care. The government…sigh. New Kenya is just Old Kenya with more money. Only that money stays with the same people who had money to begin with.
Not to mention that now we’re at ‘war’. Or whatever you want to call it.
And we have an election next year.
I feel like our priorities may be; just maybe; grossly misplaced.