Raila reveals Bottom Up strategy to boost economy

"The end result will be the creation of functional and rich villagers who have money in their pockets," - Odinga.

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga during a past public event

ODM leader Raila Odinga has outlined his dream for the transformation of rural and centres in Kenya into prosperous units that are not far removed and discriminated against from the urban areas.

In a statement dated Monday, July 12, Odinga gave a list of emerging towns across the country that are likely to grow exponentially.

As Prime Minister, I championed slum upgrading as a means of ensuring those fleeing rural areas do not end up in more deplorable urban dwellings. President Uhuru Kenyatta has championed urban regeneration, especially in his second term.

“Going forward, and to ensure more balanced growth, urban regeneration will need to go hand in hand with a very deliberate policy of Rural Transformation that makes rural life more livable and migration to cities unnecessary. Where our policies have encouraged rural-urban migration, we will need approaches that encourage rural-urban integration,” Odinga said.

According to the latest data from the Central Bank of Kenya, more than half of Kenya’s bank branches are found in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kiambu, reflecting the wealth and income inequality across Kenya’s 47 counties.

Odinga’s bottom-up plan is aimed at building rural areas and towns in order for them to become economic hubs.

In Southern Nyanza, Rodi Kopany is growing into and competing with Homa Bay town while Awendo is competing with Migori.

Kisii is growing into the metropolis for the southern Nyanza region and in Central Kenya, Saba Saba, Maragua, Mbombo and Mukuyu are emerging as towns with competing Muranga town.

Chaka emerging as the fastest-growing urban centre competing with the old Nyeri Town.

Up in Tharaka Nithi, Kathwana trading centre is emerging alongside Chogoria as competitors of the old Chuka Town. In Busia, Bumala and Matayos are emerging as alternatives to Busia Town.

Khayega and Malava are emerging as alternatives to the old Kakamega town as Mbale emerges as an alternative to Vihiga.

The former prime minister noted that these new centres are already pulling people away from the land in rural areas.

How to promote economic growth in rural areas

Odinga recommended that the government will need to ensure a coordinated and planned growth to help those who remain on the farms can do farming on a commercial scale while the towns provide the market for the produce.

The government will have to provide the farmers with high yielding seeds, help them

with the reclamation of the land and preservation of water sources and all else they need to feed the emerging towns and the entire nation.

The government will also need to step in and help farmers secure drying machines and storage facilities.

The informal food markets where food is bought and sold for most rural areas are not efficiently organized. Often these are congested with produce stands sitting next to each other, often on the roadside.

The government will also need to help the farmers transport food from where surplus is to where it is in short supply.

The end result will be the creation of functional and rich villagers who have money in their

pockets living dignified and decent life in rural Kenya. It has been done in other countries. I

believe it can be done in Kenya,” Odinga concluded.

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