NAIROBI, KENYA NOVEMBER 27 – President Willian Ruto has hinted that he is going to apply Singapore model of uplifting Kenya’s economy. Ruto questioned why Singapore, a country which got independence almost at the time Kenya did has one of the best economies in the world while Kenya is still reeling behind.

Speaking at a church service in Nairobi, president Ruto said that Kenya’s economic stagnation is as a result of poor decision made by Kenyan leaders since independence. He pointed out that the way Kenya looks like today is a reflexion of the past poor decisions.

“For a long time we have been asking ourselves big questions as Kenyans. We started with Malaysia, Singapore, (and) Korea but now they are first world (countries) yet we are still lagging behind. The difference between them and us is leadership decisions,” Ruto noted.

He further said that Kenya can’t develop as a country the way the three Asian countries (Singapore, Malaysia and Korea) did unless Kenyan leaders make decisions the way those first world countries did. But how feasible is Ruto’s plan of mimicking Singapore or Malaysia?

Singapore’s economy

Singapore became independent in 9th of August 1965, close to two years after Kenya gained its independence. However, their economy grew exponentially, thanks to it’s government robust policies that enabled its economy to flourish.

According to World Bank, Singapore has the world’s best business friendly regulatory environment for local entrepreneurs. The government of Singapore put in place measure to educate its population. This meant that their population was skilled. Additionally, their economy was driven by manufacturing as industrialization took root in that Asia nation.

As of 2017, Singapore was a high-income economy with Gross National Income of Ksh8.2 billion (USD$54,530) per capita.

Switching gears to Kenya’s current state of economy, a lot of things are in limbo. Beginning with Kenya’s debt which has shot through the roof with very little to show for it. Corruption still runs rampant in many government institutions which denies Kenyans the much needed funds to build the economy.

Ruto has on several occasions stated that he will not tolerate corruption in his administration. However, time will tell if he is up to the task to weed out corruption. In his Sunday (26, November) speech at the church service, Ruto said that every regime had focused its preservation which hindered the country from developing.

“Here we have been looking for convenience, populist and that the country won’t develop,” Ruto observed.


Lack of jobs in Kenya is a huge problem that is crippling the economy. Around 500,000 to 800,000 youths enters Kenyan job market every year. However, only a fraction of them gets jobs while other remains with no source of income. Some of the factors that contribute to this is lack of requisite skills and unfavorable business environment which would open doors for entrepreneurs to create jobs the way Singapore did.

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Ruto said that his administration has a plan of creating jobs for youth. Some of his avenues of creating jobs includes through housing program, digital platforms and export of labour. Recently he’s been to Germany where he said he’s negotiated a deal with German government to export more than 200,000 workers from Kenya.

“We have a plan of creating employment for Kenyan youth because many of them don’t have jobs. Jobs won’t be easily available, we have to plan and that is why we are creating jobs through housing, digital platforms, export of labour and all of them are now being implemented,” president Ruto said, adding that if they fail to do so, youth will suffer and even get into alcoholism and robbery. And thus it’s the government’s responsibility to create jobs for them.

Agriculture and cost of living

For many years agriculture had been dubbed as back-bone of Kenya’s economy. Unlike Singapore whose economy was driven by manufacturing, Kenya’s economy is mainly dependent on agriculture. However, many setbacks are taking a toll on this sector. They include climate change which had ushered in droughts, high cost of farm inputs, lack of agricultural knowledge among farmers and increased dependence on imported agricultural products.

Kenya Kwanza administration has so far subsidized fertilizers. According to president Ruto, the only way to reduce the cost of living is through deliberate farming.

“I told you that the way of reducing the cost of living is through production in the farms. Even if you put sufuria on your head, the cost of flour will not reduce until we go to the farm to work so that the cost of unga (maize flour) reduces,” the head of state said.

“God has given us rain we reduced that cost of fertilizer from Ksh7,000 to Ksh2,500 and farmers worked hard and today we have enough food in Kenya and next year we will work even more because I have already set aside money in the next year’s budget to grow more food than we did this year,” he added.

He said, if his administration had subsidized flour in January then cost of flour will not be where it is. He scolded the opposition saying “those who are making noise at us will be applauding us in three years.” Will Kenya Kwanza successfully mimic Singapore’s economic model?