THE SPEECH OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL OF UNITED NATIONS TRADE AND DEVELOPMENT, DR. MUKHISA KITUYI, AT THE THIRD GRADUATION CEREMONY OF THE MANAGEMENT UNIVERSITY

OF AFRICA HELD ON DECEMBER 2, 2016.

''I want to express my personal appreciation to your sponsor, The Kenya Institute of Management, the founders of this institution for their vision and determination to move with the times, in building a contribution to the skill sets and skill pool that this country this continent and particularly this region are going to need with the translate the aspirations for progress into reality.

The believe in this institution particularly a motto that you want to put management and leadership at the core of every conversation is particularly resonating well with me for a number of reasons which I will mention briefly;

This continent has set itself an agenda. Not just a development agenda that by 2063 Africa will be a developed part of the world and centre of excellence and pride of humanity. But an agenda consistent with global commitments of 2030 that over the next 14 years will banish extreme poverty. We will have a kinder more generous society. 

To achieve these aspirations takes more than technical resources and technical competence that we find. To stem the flood of African young men and women who are drowning in the Mediterranean off the Island of the Medusas in trying to seek economic fortunes in Europe takes more than discovering more oil and gold under the surfaces of Africa.

It takes challenges and rising leadership in management of public affairs. I will give you some two three examples in my discussions;

Let me start at home. I am part of the leadership of the UN which decided last year that globally, the UN will establish two service centres. Two centres in the world where all major services that are now scattered around the world at all UN headquarters are going to be centralised. The most expensive city in the world where I live Geneva, the second most expensive city of the UN New York are not candidates because the cost of having a person who organises travel schedules in Geneva is higher than the cost of keeping  a university professor in Kenya. Therefore, the head of management in the UN system went around the world because the centre has to be a UN centre to be considered. There are four centres in the world being considered; Budapest in Hungary, Bangkok in Thailand, Entebbe in Uganda and Nairobi. Mr Takasu, the Sec. Gen. for Management visited Nairobi.  He saw the ecosystem for UN is very good, the third largest UN headquarters in the world, very competent persons, fantastic communication infrastructure by African standards, yes some nuisance of traffic jams but apparently some efforts to ease that. But the thing that stuck in his mind, and he shared this when he came back to the meeting. He said “does Kenya have architects and engineers?” I said why? Because if you go to JKIA at arrivals, you will find they have constructed an arrivals hall which is barely one metre above your head. So it’s so congested and hot even if you are happy about the country you are sweating in there. Can’t they do better designs than this. I told him, you know that’s not the normal arrivals hall in Nairobi, our arrivals terminal was burnt down. That’s actually a car park and we are just using it temporarily while they construct proper arrival termini. And he asked me, “Why don’t they just waste ink to write an apology and say this is a temporary arrangement bear with us like most other institutions do?” Recently I mentioned that case to the President of Kenya.

Another matter is a very personal experience last Sunday. I was leaving this country on Sunday on an international flight. Five minutes before we taxed out at JKIA, a light aircraft from Somalia which could not pull out its wheels had an emergency SOS and it was allowed to land and landed on its belly without wheels.  I sat on a plane for four hours after which we were asked to go into the terminal and waited for two and a half hours before getting back to fly seven hours late. There was not a single announcement on the public address system that there had been an accident bear with us all flights are delayed and we will do our best to get back to business. If you ask why, nobody thought about it.

I mention these matters because sometimes we look at technical skills. We look at physical infrastructure and we think that’s sufficient to develop an economy, to grow a country, to grow a company. Many times I ask myself why is it that when you look around the world, Kenyan professionals in international organisations, in private enterprises in South Africa, in the region, in the UN system are very competent but when they come to Kenya they lower their standards and are performing on the average competence of Kenyan management. I think it’s the ecosystem of management that is underdeveloped.  Technical proficiency cannot run things. The ecosystem; a culture of management, a culture of doing things in a certain way, a culture of certain prudence is a critical ingredient in the aspirations at national and regional levels. You may have the most fantastic aspirations and development plans but if you do not nurture a management culture that is equivalent to the challenges, we are not going to get there. I say this before you because I believe you are part of the solution and not the problem.

As you leave this institution, you are being given instruments to demonstrate that you are ready for the world. I encourage you to break the ceiling to go beyond the barriers that have been existing because if it was to manage the status quo, you did not need to come here to do that you just need to stay where you are, see how things go on and be part of the frustrated sea of Kenyans who blame every failing on the political managers.

I believe that there is a future for competent management. I believe that you can make a difference across the fields of human endeavour. As we talk today, the world is facing a number of challenges that are very important and impact directly on the markets of human resources in Kenya.

Number one; there is a growing anger and anti-globalisation that we see in developed economies, associated with the declining middle-classes who blame every problem on imports from other countries particularly the developing countries.

Number two; there is a rising tide of nationalism. What we might call nativism in Europe quite a large extent triggered by immigrants from the Middle East but also largely abated by the very many Africans arriving from Libya. This compromises the market that you go to but does not take away the reality that with the dynamics of the demography of the world, the next leaders or managers of world affairs are going to come out of this continent if you get your act together. And if Africa can produce the managers of the world, Kenya must be on the frontline of producing those managers. I always say the managers of the world don’t come through those dingy boats that are thrown into the Mediterranean by people smugglers from Libya. They come on aeroplanes with passports and visas. You can create them!

The second thing I wanted to mention is; globally, the fastest growing source of income and employment is services. You have seen recently China the fast expanding economy of the world for the past 30 years start shifting gear away from being the factory of the world into domestic consumption and particularly building up the services for global value chains. The audit services, shipment and logistics services, pre-delivery services like audits and invoicing. Those directions of services belong to a certain management culture of persons who know that their constituency does not have boundaries of tribe, of country of region. You may have been given an anchoring in Kenya with an inspiration to be the example of the best practise in Africa but know that if you allow yourselves to face the challenges that you face coming here, you can be ready to start climbing the value chain in global value services that many of you know about from the enterprise you have been involved in particularly those in the logistics industry.

I did not want to come and lecture you like am in a class anymore. You have finished your classes. You are celebrating your achievement. You are ready to go to the world. This country needs you. This country needs you to fight the vices of tribalism. This country needs you to grow beyond the narrowness of political party.   This country needs you to say we cannot be accommodative to a culture of corruption. I can tell you for free; I don’t follow Kenyan papers everyday but once in a while on social media, I see a story like a young girl has gone to court and says that I was carrying bags full of millions of shillings and I took it away and it was my business genius and she leaves the court and enters an air conditioned car to go and sleep in an air conditioned bedroom.  

In many countries it can’t happen. In Korea the president has just stepped down. In Korea 1990 it was one of the most corrupt countries in the world. But the then president sent his own son to jail for corruption.

This country has the potential to be great. But you must raise the level of the things that are acceptable as part of the Kenyan DNA. You cannot fall back and you cannot be apportioning responsibility. You cannot make national responsibility the constituency of political exchanges and intrigues. It is just about saying every one of us can do better. In my own life I can aspire to a more dignified being that I reject the temptations of ill-gotten wealth. That I believe I can play by the rules and still be a great man or a great woman.

Nikimaliza ningependa sana kuwashukuru  wazazi wenyu na wadhamini wenyu ambao kwa hekima na ustahimilivu wamejitolea wakati uchumi umekuwa na shida lakini yale mapato yao madogo wakajaribu kujimudu iwezekanavyo kuwafadhili nyinyi mmalize masomo yenyu. Familia zenu ambazo wengine wenyu kama yule mwanadada ambae amekuwa hapa, unaendeleza ajira tatu; kazini kule unafanya kazi unapata kazi yako inaendelea, una familia nyumbani wewe ni mama na una masomo. Nashukuru sana watu ambao wanaweza kujitahidi hivyo.

Lakini sana nawashukuru wale ambao wamewafadhili  kama wazazi wenu wengine wameuza mali ili kuwawezesha ninyi mfuzu leo. Heshima yenu kwao sio tu kuwa wazalendo wazuri katika kazi tunazoweza kufanya, lakini kusema kwamba taifa letu linahitaji viongozi katika taasisi na tabaka mbali mbali ambao wanajiamini na ambao wanakataa huu mwelekeo kwamba tabia mbaya inaweza kusifika.

Mimi huambia watu kwamba kuenea kwa utovu wa nidhamu ni ishara ya kudidimia kwa ustaarabu. Kama tabia mbaya inaanza kuonekana kama ndio sura ya taifa, tunahitaji wazalendo ambao wataonyesha kwamba adabu, kama vile mmeelezwa ndio msingi bora wa kujenga nguzo za taifa la maana. Na naamini kwamba Chuo kikuu cha Usimamizi cha Africa (Management University of Africa), ikiwafundisha usimamizi  na uongozi kwa jumla, imewapa mchango fulani ambayo imechangia pa kubwa kwa kutengeza wazalendo ambao watasema heshima yetu ni sura nzuri ya taifa letu na sura nzuri ya watu ambao watajiita graduates of the Management University of Africa.

Nataraji kwamba kule mwendako mtaeneza uzuri wa chuo kikuu hiki ili wanaokuja vizazi vifuatavyo wakuje waseme they went to it when it was on a small three acre property in South C and now you can see the great institution that has come because of their talents and determination.

Thank you very much for your kind attention and I wish you good luck from now on.''