As part of a five part series covering the steps that Kenya needs to take to achieve lasting sustainable growth and development. I have decided to undertake a small analysis of the noughties (2000-2009) as they have come to be affectionately named. Following from this analysis will be my ideas albeit shaped significantly by the legendary third world economist Hernando De Soto.

The last decade was a very dynamic one for Kenya. Globally it was welcomed with huge aplomb as it was the beginning of a new millennium. We witnessed the most fancy fireworks displays some live and others on TV as they began in Sidney and ended in Los Angeles. We as a world had great aspirations for this new era especially after the massive economic gains that the developing world had made in the 90's. In Kenya we were slowly preparing to bring an end to the Nyayo era (error) which had ravaged and bankrupted our beloved country. There was great hope and excitement as the new decade began. It felt strange when the calenders showed a year that began with 2 and was followed by three 0's.

For Kenya the decade began in significant fashion as mobile telephony which before was a novelty for the rich  began to take root with Kencell and later on Safaricom. I remember my mother had an Ericsson 1018 which was the toast of the household. It was so cool to have a mother who had a mobile phone, almost even a sign of gender empowerment the more I think about it. As things would turn out to be, this was just the beginning of even greater things.

The KANU government led by Moi was swept by the Rainbow tide that was led by Mwai Kibaki with his dynamic team that comprised of Raila Odinga, Charity Ngilu, Michael Wamalwa amongst others. For the first time in Kenya's democratic history, the opposition had united against their greatest foe. Kenyans attended the president's inauguration in droves and the historic event was watched the world over as this tiny African country set the standard for free and fair elections. Euphoria engulfed the country as the collective hopes and aspirations of the country were raised by the new president's speech. I remember attending the ceremony at Uhuru Park with my mother and brother. We found  ourselves some good seats and slowly watched the events of the day. From the embarrassing scenes of foreign diplomats lacking chairs at the dais, the constant mud slinging by eager spectators keen not to have their view blocked and the dismay as the foreign journalists tried in vain with some even fainting to get that million dollar shot of Kibaki's first moments as president. In retrospect this should have been a sign that the change was only ceremonial, a change of guard but not a change of circumstance for the approximately 35 million or so Kenyans.

However nine years later and nothing much seems to have changed. The post-election violence of early 2008 made us wonder whether we were the same people at Uhuru Park, the same people who had showed great unity and togetherness to topple Moi. We watched in shock as fellow Kenyan's brutally and I reiterate brutally murdered each other. This was followed by a nose dive in the economy with it's main indicators such as capital inflows, GDP and the stock market index taking a nose dive. What went wrong? The NARC administration offered so much promise?

The decade ended with the NSE going nowhere, the random walk that was expected ended up being a random stop. As of end 09 figures, the stock market index has gone nowhere. An annualised nominal growth rate of 2% is hardly anything to write about. When one factors in inflation which over the years has grown at an annual rate of 10%, the real growth rate of the stock market was -8%. GDP per capita saw only a slight increase of less than 3%. Added to this we saw a worsening of our cash position as Kenya witnessed huge capital outflows in the last two years of the noughties that reversed all the gains of the previous 7 years.

It wasn't however all doom and gloom. Mobile telephony has greatly eased and improved people's lives as they can now communicate with greater efficiency and ease. In fact mobile cellular subscriptions increased from 0 subscriptions per 100 people in 2000 to 42 subscriptions per 100 people in 2008. Added to this the introduction of Mpesa and Zap have made money transfers easier to average Kenyans and have assisted the numerous unbanked Kenyans. Internet users also rose from 0.3 per 100 to 8.7 per 100. Free primary education has somewhat improved the prospects of many Kenyans as it facilitated easier access education. Primary school enrolment was at a peak of 8.3 million in 2007. However this is in jeopardy as the recent FPE scandal lead to a withdrawal of it's main financial backers. On matters of health, Kenya witnessed a slight improvement in life expectancy from 52 years to 54 years mainly due to increased HIV/AIDS awareness programs. The robust albeit shaky property market has also created wealth for many Kenyans.

However, in spite of all this, Kenya still has disturbing poverty levels, high rates of income inequality and significant tribal issues that make for a very shaky nation. What needs to be done to sort out this mess. The government seems to be incapable of solving it in it's current state.

Next week, I continue off from this quagmire. Part 2 will be about further delving into the nitty gritty of the decay in Kenya and analysing it.