His presence was palpable even from the comfort of one’s living room. The Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, shared his candid thoughts, aspirations and failures at the second edition of the Round Table Fireside Chat on the 19th of November. Passion, determination, and a wealth of wisdom oozed from him as Moderator and RCL Past President Sailepu Montet shot one thought-provoking question after another.
Dr. Kituyi was unafraid of confronting vulnerability and trade in the COVID-19 environment. He broke down the history of industrialization that catapulted the once impoverished China to a global superpower. He drew parallels between the COVID Pandemic and 2008 economic depression, both of which would cripple economic recovery.
He ached at how corruption exposed Kenya’s weaknesses to the advantage of its neighboring countries. In his opinion, the cancerous tumor of corruption dropped the country’s economic advantage and needed urgent attention.
“We must have a good exchange between good economics and good politics. Unless we make that mental shift, we will continue complaining about the problem,” he urged.
Passionate about education, Dr. Kituyi was pained by the lack of competitiveness in the job market, with adulterated education papers. He called out many institutions that allowed for doctoring of papers to fit into the job market.
He said, “If you go to America, some of the giant enterprises invest in fellowships for identified skills to encourage certain talent to grow. It is unfortunate that unqualified people are coming into the job market with doctored papers,”
On an optimistic note, Dr. Kituyi encouraged a mind-shift in capitalizing the opportunities in the digital space and artificial intelligence, to not only safeguard the youth’s intellectual property from exploitation but also grow their business competitiveness.
“If you combine big data and machine interpretation to identify consumer preferences, potential markets and patterns of investment possibility, you cut out a lot of the existing risks. Youth in Kenya are at a disadvantage against foreign investors who not only exploit their innovations but also discriminate against them based on the color of their skin. We need to quickly grow the appetite for big data, AI and blockchain technology, and invest in educating our children as these will form the enterprise Kenya of the future.”
The interactive session was crowned with Dr. Kituyi, an avid golfer with a soft spot for women in enterprise throwing his hat in the ring for the highest seat on the land come 2022. The cherry on top was becoming an honorary member of the Rotary Club of Nairobi-Lang’ata.