Commentary: Call to rethink current model of capitalism to address the rising inequality in Africa

Author: Prof. Bitange Ndemo, in Daily Nation (Kenya), Published on: 14 January 2019

"Let’s address the rising economic inequality in Africa"

Kenyans welcomed the New Year with great optimism. Economists predict staller economic performance this year owing to relative peace occasioned by the ''Handshake''. In the midst of this positive narrative is the rising economic inequality. Across the world, economic inequality and the ability or inability of the political class to address it is a major concern...While from the outset each side seems to make great sense, they are wrong. It is often presumptuous to think that the policies that buttress these views will be enough to guarantee economic prosperity and social stability in an environment with an uneven playing field...

...[The capitalist system] inevitably advances inequality, unless the underlying political systems keep it on check. In my view, the world never kept pace with the intrinsic dynamism of the system that continuously re-invents itself. We need new versions of capitalism and democracy. Many of the countries that have always embraced classical capitalism are in deep trouble as they watch the erosion of the middle class and the rise of poverty, with great accumulation of wealth in the hands of very view...

In Kenya, although we identify with capitalism, in practice we are often in total confusion. Markets, especially on agricultural produce, have failed. Policy interventions are erratic and encourage false hope that disenfranchises some communities to continue hoping that the government will intervene. It is the reason why farmers will always ask what the government will do with overproduction of crops like maize.When there are large number of individuals and communities that cannot exploit opportunities for development, then the system aught to be re-evaluated and some form of system that is closer to what they are capable of dealing with be installed. Otherwise only a few individuals will continue to accumulate wealth at the expense of others, widening the inequality that brings instability. [Refers to Uchumi & Mumias Sugar]

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Related companies: Mumias Sugar