East Africa needs to learn from the US and Britain

East Africa needs to learn from the US and Britain

Kenya ‘a beacon of democracy’ in East Africa, says expert

“When you go to Kenya, you cannot miss it: the whole country is like one enormous party, with a very big band,” says David Shuman, the former US ambassador to Kenya.

Mr Shuman was talking at the East African Economic Forum in Nairobi, the cradle of independent East Africa, hosted by the East African National Chamber of Commerce.

“You find the same social norms everywhere you go, from the police to the government, from public to private sectors. The same sense of order prevails. In places where I am very often, everyone has a name: people have to be on your street or your corner.

“In the US, if you call someone ‘John’, that is the way you call him. You don’t say ‘call me Jack’. That is not how you address people here, and this will change here.”

The world famous East African University in Kenya, which offers degrees in everything from law to medicine, has recently come under fire for its links to Western donors, especially those from the US and Britain.

Dr Paul Ndung’u, a lecturer at the university, said he did “everything in my power” to distance himself from the US and Britain.

However, Dr Ndung’u said it was time for the institution to “correct itself”.

He was supported by Dr Stephen Kipkorir, the institution’s vice-chancellor, who told the East African Economic Forum: “We have to understand the history of this country and the institutions that have grown up out of that history.”

I want to thank everybody for their participation. Our aim is to achieve a mutually beneficial forum. I am confident that a lot of stakeholders in the region will come to this event and share best practice with us.

There was great interest from stakeholders in the region to learn from East Africa.

The event is not just about Africa, Dr Ndung’u said. It is about building stronger partnerships with the region and building on the partnerships that have grown

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