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Kenya's PM Unveils Economic Recovery Plan

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga has unveiled the outlines of his government's economic recovery program that, he says, will help boost Kenya's annual growth by at least 10 percent by 2012. He spoke at the World Economic Forum in South Africa. For VOA, Terry FitzPatrick reports from Cape Town.

Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga has told a gathering of some 800 business leaders at the World Economic Forum on Africa his country's post-election crisis is over.

"We are coming here after going through a very trying period in our country's history, to come and announce here that Kenya is up and running once again, that Kenya is ready to do business," he said.

More than 1,000 Kenyans died in clashes over the nation's disputed election results. Mr. Odinga concedes the violence has stunted Kenya's growth. He says his recovery plan aims to repair the damage.

"What we have been through is something that is probably necessary in our country's history, but now stone throwing and house burning and so on is no longer the face of Kenya," he added.

The recovery plan is called Vision 2030. It calls for greater use of public-private partnerships to build new roads and power plants, rehabilitate the railroad system, improve Internet service and expand the port of Mombasa.

Tourism Minister Najib Balala also announced a grand plan to expand Kenya's tourism infrastructure.

"We want to develop new areas, diversify the product from just wildlife and beaches, but also resort cities, such as opening up the coastal area for mass tourism where we can have the huge chains of hotels being built with big numbers," he noted.

Mr. Odinga indicated his vision is nothing short of a national makeover.

"The Vision 2030 is aimed at transforming Kenya from a struggling third-world economy into a second world economy," he explained. "We do believe that it is a realizable objective; we don't believe that it is utopia. We know that it has been done in some other countries of the world, and there is no reason we should not achieve the objective that we have set for ourselves."

But he did not disclose the specifics of the government's recovery plan. It will be announced formally next week in Nairobi.