We need new investment policies post Covid-19

Wednesday, August 12th, 2020 00:00 |
Intensive Care Unit beds and other general health facilities at a hospital in Kerugoya, Kirinyaga county. PD/FILE

The pandemic has altered the aspirations of people globally.  The race towards attaining sustainable development goals of reduced poverty and zero hunger will be negatively impacted unless innovative policies and strategies for positive progress are formulated and implemented.  

Global leaders have to deal with the negative impact of nationalisation of global public goods.

It is evident that global pandemics do not only affect national economies, rather they break every nerve of the international system.

Therefore, it will be perilous for an inward looking mentality when affliction of a few portends danger for the world.  

Mitigation of impact of Covid-19, require that policy makers understand critical areas of intervention.

Given the difference in aspirations, conflict of interest and comparative advantage for different people and sectors, debates guided by respectful consultation through elaborate public participation must be of essence. 

For instance, the debate on revenue allocation in Kenya, which mirrors dynamics of sharing of critical resources, must be handled with care. It is during such conflicts investment priorities are lost.  

The place of agricultural investment after Covid-19 cannot be gainsaid. Research has shown food security and eradication of poverty, a major hindrance to global prosperity, could be solved through critical investment in agriculture ecosystem development. 

However, for sustainable development, a 2009 research discovered that policy makers must understand aspirations and investment strategies adopted by different groups to target investments.  

Debate on role of agriculture in development of Kenyan economy has dominated public discourse for decades yet productivity has been dwindling.

Could it be that little consideration has been given to the aspirations and strategies applied by different groups to change their livelihood? Most Probably.  

Different understanding of regional comparative advantage may be the reason the tussle over revenue allocation formula has generated political heat.

For instance, arid and semi-arid agroecological areas have peculiar livelihood strategies that inform their aspirations.

Until national policy makers understand these phenomena, resources allocated might not be commensurate to optimum investment requirement. The same argument will be made concerning other regions. 

Hanging in, a strategy used by people for survival will require a policy framework that supports individuals for sustenance maybe through social protection policies.

In agriculture, farmers farming for survival will require policies that include subsidy programmes.

Stepping up and stepping out strategies, where activities are undertaken to expand productivity and improve livelihood while saving more as future capital, could offer resources in solving food insecurity and poverty eradication.  

Understanding classification of these strategies will be significant in technology employment in the sector.

Previous technology investments have been made under blanket policy framework, with little consideration to agroecological environment and aspiration of the people.

This could be the reason for slow adoption of agricultural technologies.  

From this view, targeted communication and outreach must be key tenet for investment policy post Covid-19.

Diversity of agroecological zones, livelihood aspiration and investment strategies must be the anchor of any policy formulation and implementation effort. 

Leadership devoid of unnecessary populism must be the leading light in this.  — The writer is  the communication & political advisor to West Mugirango MP

More on News