Broad-Based Industrial Development is Key for Structural Transformation

Prof. Motoki TAKAHASHI make a presentation during the forum

Provision of an equal opportunity together with consistent enrichment of the economy can be a crucial step towards stimulating growth in our industries. In addition, to ensure the country’s success, the predominance of Casino Capitalism in which only the haves can benefit must be avoided.

According to Prof. Motoki TAKAHASHI, a renowned scholar in the field of political economy of development cooperation in Sub-Saharan Africa, the missing “middle syndrome” is a major concern in developing countries.

This, he added, has resulted in very few firms particularly Small and Mid-size Enterprises (SMEs), growing to medium size in terms of revenue and employment.

Prof. Takahashi spoke on Wednesday, February 15, 2023 at JKUAT main campus, during a public lecture on Lessons for Structural Transformation from Below in Kenya: Respect for Craftspersonship.

The don took the participants through the journey of understanding the background information underlying modern Japan.

“Getting first hand lessons from Japan’s industrialization process which made the country a forerunner in the manufacturing development sector, will provide viable strategies that will be crucial in the quest to develop and modernize partner countries,” he noted.

The Professor from Kyoto University, believes Kenya has the capacity and the requisite resources to improve its economy noting supporting and financing SMEs will be critical in achieving this.

“Japan did not have mineral resources and therefore needed to develop the country by utilizing its human asset and investing a lot in education particularly math and science. Looking back at Japan’s experience of modernization, Kenya could learn from the critical efforts that Japan has made to develop itself,” said Prof. TAKAHASHI.

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Prof. Motoki TAKAHASHI (left) confers with the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi

n his part, Deputy Chief of Mission Counsellor, Embassy of Japan, Mr. Yasuhisa KITAGAWA said, the Japanese Government invested heavily on education as a way of uplifting the country after the World War 2.

 “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together. Today we are proud of the partnership with JKUAT and especially the Kenyan government. We look forward to our continued collaboration that will further enhance academic and people-to-people exchange in the future,” asserted Mr. KITAGAWA.

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Chief Representative, Mr. Hajime IWAMA noted that Kenya is one of the largest partner countries in Africa as a destination of Official Development Assistance (ODA) from the Government of Japan among other strands of cooperation.

Mr. IWAMA further added that the JICA under the initiative of the JICA Chair Program, seeks to share development experiences of Japan with partner countries like Kenya.

“It is my sincere hope that today we can tap into Prof. Takahashi’s vast knowledge and experiences to interrogate further Kenya’s economic transformation considering the local context.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, said Africa’s economic transformation has been an ongoing process, with many countries experiencing significant economic growth in recent years.

Prof. Ngumi observed that there are still significant challenges that need to be addressed such as high levels of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

“To drive economic transformation in Africa, we must make intentional efforts to invest in infrastructure, increase trade and foreign investment and improve governance and institutional quality. These factors are crucial drivers of economic growth that African countries need to prioritize,” Prof. Ngumi said.

The Vice Chancellor thanked the government of Japan for its support through JICA, which has made the institution become “one of the leading universities in the region owing to its orientation as a practically oriented technical university.”

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