THE RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT AND FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT IN KENYA

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Abstract

The Kenyan Vision 2030 which encompasses the right to development was developed as a guiding template for development in the country over the two and a half decades[1]. This vision is based on three pillars, which the Economic, Social and Political pillars. The objective of vision 2030 is to transform the country into a newly industrialized, middle income country that provides a high quality of life to all its citizens. One sure way to achieve the development plan and objective in the vision 2030 is recognition and implementation of the right to development. This can be done by educating the people on what the right to development means, how they are entitled to it, the remedies available to them when such rights are infringed and the avenues through which they can get redress for any kind of infringement. Such awareness can be facilitated by non-governmental organizations and civic education by the government on the right to development.

The main focus here will be on the regulation of foreign direct investments as a means of achieving and implementing the right to development. This is because they are easy to monitor and regulate and in most cases affect natural resources. Entry of foreign direct investments into Kenya is strictly regulated by procedures, making their activities and location easily traceable after they set base. Kenya as a country has a rich and good climate with numerous natural resources like fresh water lakes, highlands and fertile soil among others. She therefore depends on agriculture as a backbone of its economy. It is thus inevitable that the bulk of foreign investments are resource and agriculture based and will consequently be dependent on environmental and natural resources. Misuse and pollution of these resources as a result of the foreign investors’ activities infringe on the right to development of Kenyans. There is therefore a need to regulate them through legislation that will ensure they are constantly monitored.

There has been a tremendous change in foreign investment policy in the past decade. This has seen developing and emerging economies remove restrictions on financial flows in and out of their countries, in order to attract new investments.[2] The main reason for this is to promote economic growth in their economies. Developing Countries including Kenya have a tendency to purposely undervalue their environment in order to compete for Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) and as a result excessive levels of pollution and environmental degradation have occurred[3].

 

[1] Kenya Vision 2030; the popular version

 

[2] Nick Mabey and Richard McNally; AWWF-UK Report; August 1999.

[3] Nick Mabey and Richard McNally; AWWF-UK; August 1999.

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