Just Like In The Olympics, Kenya Has Many Optimists
The Olympics started last week with an opening ceremony that vowed a billion folks and two billion eyeballs. Danny Boyle who directed the wonderful 'SlumDog Millionaire' was the uber director of the opening ceremony and produced a c21st extravaganza of which every Londoner [And I was a Londoner for an eternity] could be proud. The Olympic motto is Citius, Altius, Fortius, a Latin expression meaning "Faster, Higher, Stronger".
The Olympic creed:
The most important thing in the Olympic games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well. The Olympics began in ancient Greece and through today, there have been so many narratives of faster, higher, stronger and of triumph and of struggle. I recall the likes of Kipchoge Keino and Ben Jipcho, Paul Ereng, Wilfred Bungei and the man who found the struggle of life more complicated than the marathon, Samuel Wanjiru.
Kenya has enjoyed more success than most as you no doubt already know. This time around, we have launched Kenya House and an Investment Conference to try and leverage the 'feel good' factor of the Olympic games. Success at the Olympics is a pre eminent example of soft power. Success at the Olympics gives an opportunity for mind share gain in a World of 7b+ minds.
I imagine the penny dropping in many minds. 'There must be something going on over there because they have produced all these winners.' And the next thing, someone has to step up and say; 'Oh yes. The oil looks as if its a big gig.' Do you know about mobile money?' 'Clean energy? We are the biggest Geothermal folks in Africa.' And then maybe start with TS Eliot's 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock'
LET us go then, you and I,...
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.
I will take you for a walk on the white sands of Diani beach at dawn, when only the fishermen will be our companions. I will take you for a dip in the magic hot springs at Lake Magadi. I will take you to the Masai Mara and we will park ourselves in the midst of elephants. I will take you around the city of Nairobi and show you how many of the big boys have seen through the noise and have set up shop, like Google, Nestle and all sorts. Meet our people who speak the universal language that is English and who are smart and connected and all are as hungry for success as are our athletes.
And then they might ask;
'But Aly-Khan, what are the risks?'