By Githae Mwangi
President Ruto was elected on an economic platform, which promised to invest in small and medium enterprises through the yet to be established hustler fund to grow the economy; a departure from the more popular trickle down economic model, which involves investing in infrastructure and other capital intensive projects to stimulate economic growth.
This strategy was and is expected to create employment and wealth by helping small business, which include the famous ‘mama mbogas’ and ‘watu wa bodaboda’ scale and improve their revenues to levels that can guarantee them a good quality of life.
In line with this policy, the president has also promised to grow our manufacturing sector to 22% of the country’s gross domestic product by investing in factories, which will be located in every county to process and manufacture goods from the raw materials respective counties produce.
Whereas these plans are commendable, the president has overlooked one potential creator of employment and wealth: MOBIUS.
Mobius is a vehicle manufacturing company based here in Nairobi that produces cars particularly made to navigate the rough African Terrain. Developing this company would create employment, wealth, earn the country much needed foreign exchange, and be our source of pride.
Growing Mobius and taking it public would help create employment in the country. Currently, Kenya’s unemployment rate stands at close to 8%, largely because it is not an industrial economy.
Developing Mobius would help address this issue by creating employment in the motor vehicle industry and possibly stimulate its growth. To do this, the government would have to invest in the company because it is currently a private company.
Once it acquires a majority stake, the president could consider issuing a policy directive to direct all government organizations to start replacing their old vehicles with Mobius cars.
Buying cars from Mobius would help the company earn revenues to fund its technological and infrastructural development that would include factories, distribution and repair centers.
Moreover, it would help the company fund development partnerships with foreign companies to lower its operational costs that would lower car prices down. Further, it would stimulate the country’s manufacturing industry by encouraging other companies to enter the market.
Developing these companies would create employment for the many mechanical engineers and other professionals, who have no place to practice their craft.
Growing Mobius would also earn the country much needed foreign exchange.
As mentioned, the car company’s mission is to provide robust cars that can withstand the rough terrain of the African continent.
Currently, Toyota satisfies this market with its Prados and Landcruisers, which people and governments prefer because of their reliability. Fortunately for Mobius, these cars are expensive, pushing individuals to settle for used ones.
Moreover, the struggling economy, failing shilling, and high taxes has pushed vehicle prices through the roof, making them unaffordable for most people.
Therefore Mobius has an opportunity to fill this market, but first, they would need to produce much more affordable and reliable vehicles to compete in the current market.
If the government invests in Mobius and buys cars from them, they would be able to fund car development and increase economies of scale necessary to bring costs down.
If Mobius cars were cheaper and more reliable, other countries would buy from us, earning the country much needed foreign exchange.
It would also help Kenyans to grow their wealth. For this to happen, the government would need to take the company public through the Nairobi Stock Exchange.
Kenyans would have an opportunity to own the company and benefit from its profits. Moreover, the company would have to partner with distributors, suppliers, and repair centers.
Such companies and individuals would be able to create their own wealth, improving their quality of life.
Further, growing such a company would stimulate the manufacturing sector by encouraging other Kenyan producers to enter their relevant markets.
In the long term, our country would grow its manufacturing industry, starting its journey to become a manufacturing power house.
* Government ownership of Mobius
* Policy direction that all government organizations replace their vehicles with Mobius
* Take the company public later on to allow Kenyans to own it.
For Mobius, follow the Tesla model:
* Produce few high end vehicles for top public officials
* Raise enough money to produce a more affordable and reliable car for the commoners.
Githae Mwangi is a political and current affairs commentator