Tuesday, August 4 -- Nairobi on the eve of the African Growth and Opportunity Act Forum (AGOA), and the beginning of Secretary Clinton's huge trip to Africa, is cool, a wonderful change from Washington in August, and full of energy.
The vitality of the city is evident on the busy sidewalks: people in business suits hurrying to appointments; banana vendors wading through dense traffic; school children in uniforms; busy churches. Kenyans clearly have the energy, the ambition, the education and the resources to thrive.
And yet, they are not thriving. Why? Kenya faces serious systemic problems: corruption, criminal and political violence, and a culture of impunity that all undermine domestic and international confidence in the country and cause widespread misery here. The warm and thoughtful Kenyans I have met so far deserve better. They deserve the chance to succeed. They deserve serious measures to end the cycles of violence and corruption that create cynicism, anger, despair and poverty.
It is easy to imagine a prosperous and proud Kenya, one in which the courts are strong and independent, corruption is not tolerated, and people trust public institutions to serve the broad, public good -- not narrow individual interests. That is not an impossible vision, but will take committed leadership and broad support from the people of Kenya. It is worth working for.