Kenya’s Road to Growing Prosperity

By Thomas O’Brien and Hannah Kim

Overview

 

Kenya can be one of Africa’s success stories. Its outlook is one of hope and positive prospects, with huge development opportunities combined with substantial challenges. It holds great potential including from its expanding and youthful population; dynamic private sector; a platform for change laid down by the new Constitution and recent peaceful elections; and its pivotal role within East Africa and further afield. Yet poverty remains high with 4 out of 10 Kenyans living in poverty and the richest 10 percent of the population receiving 40 percent of the nation’s income. Governance concerns persist; and growth, while solid, has been constrained by low investment and low firm-level productivity and has yet to take off at the rapid, sustained rates needed to transform the lives of ordinary citizens.

What will it take for Kenya to leapfrog millions of its citizens out of poverty and create a more prosperous and equitable society? We diagnose the country conditions and highlight key constraints in this challenge. We then sketch out a road map forward, while noting risks and uncertainties to be managed.

 

A Diagnosis of Country Conditions

Overall context

Kenya encapsulates many of Africa’s development opportunities and challenges. During 50 plus years of independence Kenya has established itself as a leader in the East African Community and beyond, including through its facilitation of financial services, regional trade, and flow of skills across borders. With more than 43 million residents, its population continues to grow—by around 1 million per year over the coming decades according to the latest projections, making it the world’s 18th most populous nation by 2050 (compared to 31st today).[1] It can draw on a relatively strong institutional and policy framework,[2] infrastructure assets including the port of Mombasa, outstanding natural environment, a well-educated workforce relative to some similar economies, and emerging potential from newly discovered oil and gas reserves. However, it is a low-income country with an income per head of US$840 in 2012[3] and the desire of Kenyans for a more prosperous society not yet been achieved. Periods of growth have been punctured by setbacks, and weaknesses in governance, inevitable gaps in infrastructure, and newer issues such as managing security are all part of the development agenda.

Poverty, economic growth and inequality

Reducing poverty is arguably Kenya’s single most pressing issue and it is certainly integral to the drive for growing prosperity. The country’s poverty rate has fallen from 47 percent in 2005/06 to about 39 percent on best estimates in 2012/13.[4] Poverty reduction has been driven by solid growth across most of the economy, together with some improvements in social safety nets targeting the poor and continuing migration to urban areas—especially metropolitan Nairobi—that offer better job prospects (albeit largely in the informal sector) as well as easier access to health and education services. But the distribution of the nearly 4 in every 10 Kenyans living in extreme poverty is by no means even—indeed the poorest 10 percent of the population receive only 2 percent of national income. In the remote, arid, sparsely populated north-eastern parts of the country (Turkana, Mandera, and Wajir), poverty rates are above 80 percent; agro-climatic shocks impact vulnerable livelihoods that depend on livestock and low-productivity agricultural activities; and people’s assets, including educational opportunity and achievement, are very limited. The population in the western and coastal parts of the country benefit from better natural resource endowments; however, the poor remain especially prone to contracting insect and water-borne diseases and agricultural potential has been limited by the effects of flood-induced land degradation in certain rural areas. The proportion of Kenya’s poor that live in major cities other than Nairobi has increased from 17 to 22 percent over the past decade, suggesting that economic growth in these urban settlements was not quite fast enough to cope with the expanding population.

The primary ingredient for poverty reduction is economic expansion.[5] Kenya’s average GDP growth rate of 4.6 percent annually over the last decade is reasonable, and for the first time in a generation the country avoided an “election disruption” to growth in 2013. But to end extreme poverty in a generation[6] the pace must be faster.  What has held back growth? The key binding constraints have been low investment and low firm-level productivity that in turn clog the “export engine.” There has been a weak contribution of capital stock to GDP growth. For example, in the last decade, in Kenya capital improvements are estimated to have driven about 1.9 percentage points of GDP growth, compared to around 5.9 percentage points in Thailand, 3.5 in Tanzania and 3.2 in Uganda. Private sector investment, at around 15 percent of GDP, is below that of competitors; and foreign direct investment at 1 percent of GDP in recent years is far below what could be achieved (for example, Tanzania and Uganda attract foreign direct investment of about 5 percent of GDP). Public investment has also been constrained. That is not principally because of inherently inadequate funding considering Kenya collects revenue of around 24 percent of GDP annually—a leader in Africa. Rather, a significant share of the tax revenue has to be deployed on a substantial public sector wage bill that is high by international standards.[7] This means that while public sector development expenditure has edged up over the past decade, it is constantly under pressure and needs more room to increase.

Low productivity, and low returns that constrain private investment, persist for several reasons. [8] First, essential infrastructure services such as energy and transportation are too costly and inadequately supplied.[9] Second, the environment for doing business, where Kenya notably lags behind its competitors, has weaknesses, including governance and corruption challenges, and regulatory frameworks, which in some cases are not well enforced and in other cases are too burdensome. Third, human capital has been improving and is relatively good compared to many other low-income countries in Africa, but still many firms—especially those competing on international markets—cannot secure the workforce needed to drive their growth. And fourth, limited access to finance often with overbearing requirements for collateral (for example, for rural businesses), means companies in arid counties and small entrepreneurs are not grasping many growth opportunities. This is part of the broader challenge for the economy to mobilize domestic savings to direct toward investment needs. Many of these issues can be addressed at least in part by policy and market reforms, emulating some of the positive steps, such as trade reform and energy market liberalization that Kenya has taken in earlier years. Good, clear laws backed by a strong and credible judiciary are an essential element in creating an environment that is conducive to business and financial activity to promote credit to a wider population.

Although growth plays a key role in reducing poverty and promoting shared prosperity, tackling inequality is critical too,[10] especially in important ways in Kenya.  Across the country women tend to fare less well than men in many dimensions, including being much less likely to find a job in the formal labor market and earning lower wages when they do. Only 29 percent of those earning a formal wage are women and female youths are twice as likely to be unemployed as adult females. Women in rural areas have less access to income-producing assets such as land and credit,[11] and receive lower incomes for comparable farm work. Girls are also less likely than boys to enroll in secondary schools (female-male secondary enrollment ratio of 92 percent) and are more likely to drop out due to unfriendly school environments, early marriages, and the high cost of secondary schooling. Maternal mortality is one of the highest in Africa at 488 deaths per 100,000 live births[12] and the proportion of women who receive child delivery with skilled attendance is only 44 percent and has remained unchanged over the last 10 years.

Kenya suffers from particularly high youth unemployment. New labor market entrants of age 20 face an unemployment rate of around 35 percent. More than half the population is below age 25 and this ratio will rise to almost two-thirds by 2030.[13] Equipping young people with modern education and job opportunities is therefore essential to make the most of their talents and avoid the risk of social capital being undermined by crime and delinquency. Kenyans rate “tackling unemployment” as a top priority for the Government, which in fact has set an ambitious target of creating 1 million new jobs annually. Yet, it must also help grow jobs and improve conditions in the informal sector, not least in the family farm and off-farm sectors in which nearly half of all Kenyans work.

Social conditions are part-and-parcel of tackling inequality, and there is some good news—for example falling children’s mortality (from 102 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2000 to 73 in 2012),[14] near-universal primary school enrolment, and narrowing gender gaps in education. Some improvements have been secured through well-targeted interventions such as the extensive deployment of insecticide-treated bed nets to guard against malaria and increased public spending on lower-level education. While prevalence of HIV/AIDS has been ameliorated thus meeting the targeted MDG, it is still a pressing issue for certain segments of the population. But other indicators remain stubbornly vexing. Secondary school enrolments are at a low 32 percent and learning achievement levels are well below their potential and what is needed to fuel a modern market economy.

We have brought together this nexus of poverty/growth/inequality in simulations which show how both the pace and extent to which economic growth is inclusive will have a major influence on Kenya’s poverty outlook. To eliminate extreme poverty by 2030 presents a formidable challenge: the rate of economic growth would need to double; and inequality, measured by the Gini coefficient, would need to be halved. If growth remains at historic levels of around 4 percent per year and inequality remains unchanged, the poverty rate will fall to 35 percent by 2018 and to 27 percent by 2030, as shown in Table 1. The progress in poverty reduction depends strongly on what happens to inequality in the country. If inequality falls each year by one percentage point, with a GDP growth rate of 4 percent, the poverty rate would fall to 28 percent by 2018 and to 11 percent by 2030.  Under this inequality reduction scenario, Kenya would eliminate extreme poverty if annual GDP growth rates increase to 6 percent.  However, if inequality worsens this goal would not be tenable in the medium term.

 

 Table 1: Projected Poverty Rates for Different Growth and Inequality Scenarios
2018 2030
Inequality scenario (% growth in Gini coefficient per year)
-1% 0 +1% -1% 0 +1%
GDP scenario
(% growth per year)
+4 27.6 35.4 41.6 11.1 27.4 41.1
+6 19.8 28.5 36.3 1.9 13.1 29.3
+8 14.2 22.9 30.8 0.19 5.9 21.4
+10 9.4 17.9 26.6 0.017 2.8 16.1
Note: These estimates are computed using the observed 2005/06 distribution of per capita consumption and observed GDP per worker growth rates up to 2012, and projected overall GDP scenarios thereafter (not factoring sectoral dynamics) based on baseline fertility rates.

 

Sustainability, governance and other factors

Moving Kenya towards a higher growth path and a more equitable society must be done in a sustainable way. The country is vulnerable to natural disasters and other climate-related impacts; droughts brought hardship and costs of US$12 billion over the last decade.[15] It is classified as “chronically water scarce” with one of the most degraded areas in the region; about 70 percent of the population lives in the small share (about 12 percent) of the country’s total land area that has agricultural potential. The growing population and the resulting increase in demand for land, energy, and water is putting tremendous pressure on the natural resource base. In the fast-growing cities, the task of providing housing, proper waste and pollution management, and security is increasingly complex. Proper spatial planning and effective urban policies are essential if migration from the countryside to the city is really to improve people’s lives over the long term. Further afield Kenya’s natural assets—landscape and wildlife—are important for the population as a whole, for some specific indigenous groups whose livelihoods and culture are so tied up with the land, and for the pivotal position they play in the nation’s tourism industry (which accounts for 2 percent of GDP and 15 percent of export earnings). The Constitution puts emphasis on land and the environment, including aiming to achieve and maintain tree cover of at least 10 percent of Kenya’s land area. The National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) has identified restoration of forests on degraded lands and agroforestry as a “big win” opportunity. Yet the challenge is to develop and sensitively implement win-win solutions that properly handle the rights and position of indigenous peoples, including those whose long-standing place of abode is in forest areas.

The governance environment plays an important in the country’s performance, and here Kenya has a mixed record. It falls below the average for Sub-Saharan countries in the World Bank Governance Indicators,[16] except in government effectiveness and regulatory quality. Ratings in surveys such as those from Transparency International (where Kenya was rated 139 out of 174 countries in 2012) and extensive media coverage of governance and corruption draw attention to the issue. The problems have deep-rooted causes in accountability (or lack thereof), including vested interests, elite capture, and weaknesses in institutions of accountability including oversight and control institutions, judiciary and law enforcement. As a result, governance has been a major constraint to unleashing Kenya’s full potential. However, the 2010 Constitution can be a game changer especially with its devolution provisions that are transferring functions from the central government to the 47 new county governments. The new structures provide an avenue for a clearer and more equitable allocation of national resources across counties, which should help less-developed regions. By bringing government closer to the people and enhancing local-level accountability mechanisms, governance can be improved and local citizens and companies can benefit. Few if any countries have attempted anything on this scale or speed in the recent past, but if implemented successfully, it can, over the long term, have a positive impact on governance and the promotion of shared prosperity.

 

A Way Forward: Development Challenges and Opportunities

 

This diagnosis of the country conditions, combined with the country’s own ambitions and analysis,[17] lead us to suggest three key themes to focus on in the coming years.[18]

 Enhance competitiveness and sustainability—to deliver growth that combats poverty

 Kenya’s long-term economic engine is the private sector—including the large segment of informal activity—whose energy and dynamism should be the principal source of growth and where there are significant opportunities. Hence we argue that progress on investment climate reforms, combined with improving firm-level productivity and innovation, is essential to raising private sector investment and job creation. Moving vibrant sectors to the next level and critically ensuring that they are able to compete internationally, thus boosting Kenya’s lagging exports, needs a mixture of capital and expertise from domestic and international partners. But beyond individual opportunities for the marketplace to grow across the board, we suggest the Government can deepen and build on the strengths of the financial sector and be much more forceful in improving the business environment including weak contract enforcement, overly regulated sub-markets (for example, maize), and a stagnating manufacturing base. Public support for science, technology, and higher education could also boost innovation and competitiveness programs in key sectors.

The bottlenecks to private sector dynamism go well beyond the policy environment and are equally if not more rooted in on the ground realities of poor infrastructure; hence, leveraging private investment in infrastructure is essential. Firms are currently faced with high transport costs given dilapidated roads and railways, and a clogged-up Mombasa port: the average cost to export a container is US$2,255, compared to US$1,620 in South Africa. Firms pay high energy costs at US$0.21 per Kwh versus US$0.18 in Nigeria or US$0.10 in South Africa. In its second Medium Term Plan 2013-2017, the Government identifies huge investments in infrastructure. A fraction of these can legitimately be met from public resources – and only through prudent control of the public sector wage bill – but the real opportunity here is to leverage private sector resources through innovative public-private partnerships, which are currently rather underdeveloped. Parts of the legal framework for designing and executing PPPs are in reasonable shape. More can be done on financing power generation and distribution yet the trick is now to expand and widen this approach. In terms of other infrastructural priorities, institutional and policy reforms with complex political economy considerations are long-needed such as liberalizing the grain and maize market.

Kenya’s large cities are drivers of growth and the urbanization trend is unstoppable. With nearly one-third of Kenyans living in cities, enhancing urban governance and management for service delivery to businesses and citizens, combined with improving access to water and transport services in urban areas will also be key. The rise of secondary cities also provides an important rural-urban linkage in the system of cities and can serve as an important driver for off-farm employment opportunities for the rural population. To make cities more livable and sustainable, more should be done to cope with waste management through sanitary landfills, improving peri-urban slums, stimulating mortgage financing, and reducing transport congestion.

Kenya’s rapid population growth together with GDP expansion puts pressure on environmental and social sustainability. Kenya is highly prone to the impact of climate variability, including droughts and flooding. Appropriate resources should be invested in water security and climate resilience to protect Kenyans from natural calamities.

Protect the vulnerable and help them develop their potential—to contribute to growth and engineer a sharing of new prosperity

For Kenya to make a huge dent on poverty, support for the growth and realization of people’s potential must focus on sectors and locations where the majority of the poor can benefit.  In rural areas, the single biggest and most sustainable impact would be to improve agricultural performance. Here the private sector has an important role to play in raising incomes by financing small farms, ensuring equitable access to markets, lowering risk and optimizing value chains. The agricultural agenda, of course, is very much tied up with Kenya’s competitiveness, and we recommend policy and institutional reforms to lift certain constraints to growth, such as liberalizing agricultural purchasing via the National Cereals and Purchasing Board. There is also considerable room to improve agricultural productivity, including through more effective extension services, sustainable soil management practices, better livestock management (a critical sub-sector for many of the poorest arid and semi-arid counties) and better management of market, production, and enabling environment risks. Basic rural infrastructure, notably access to roads and irrigation, needs a huge upgrade. Finally, long term enhancements to the use of land resources are called for, such as those facilitated by efficient land registries and secure tenure. The rural poor would also gain from community driven development which empowers local people, including women and marginalized groups, to take charge of their own fortunes. In other cases mechanisms such as formal social safety nets, including cash transfers, food security for the most vulnerable, and sustainable land management support can make the best impact.

In cities it is essential to engage the private sector to help put in place better infrastructure, housing, health and education to serve the growing population. The prospects and approaches for doing this must be tailored to specific conditions.  In the largest and relatively more prosperous cities, we believe PPPs will become increasingly tenable (subject to a solid regulatory framework); and putting these in place will deliver better services and have a demonstration and knowledge-sharing dimension for elsewhere in the country. In the emerging secondary cities, there is a chance for public agencies to invest right at the outset to lay the platform for manageable growth over the long term.

Whether in the countryside or on urban streets, the poor are most exposed to the impacts of disasters, thus making it important to strengthen disaster planning and management. This is part of a broader point where we emphasize the valuable role that well-targeted social safety nets play in protecting the vulnerable not only from disasters but other economic shocks. Kenya’s safety nets program is becoming more robust and efficient – a policy prescription that we fully endorse.

We recommend continuing investment in improving public services that have a direct impact on people’s well-being in both rural and urban areas. Health care may be foremost in this regard, given that the Government—and new county administrations—are behind a program of health reform. Although total national spending on health care, at around 5 percent of GDP is not low by comparable international standards, the effectiveness of such spending requires attention. Improved healthcare tends to be accompanied not only by better health status but also by lower fertility rates over the medium term. There is a great opportunity to help build better systems, including a stronger reliance on results-based healthcare financing at the local level, to leverage change. Interventions in the health sector should also support drought-affected districts in managing acute malnutrition cases at health facilities.

The central challenge in education is similar: apply resources more effectively and lift quality of outcomes rather than quantity of inputs. There is scope to attract more private sector involvement from companies who want to work with the public sector in strengthening industry-academic linkages and creating jobs, to educate and train young people, especially girls, so they fit those openings in the formal and informal sectors.

Build consistency and equity—to deliver a devolution dividend

The changing institutional landscape is undergoing a tectonic shift with powers and responsibilities moving from the national government to the 47 new county administrations. The changes under the 2010 Constitution could bring about a risk of service delivery disruption, including functions that are devolved to counties the fastest like urban management, water, health, agriculture, and local roads. Large transfers to historically marginalized counties in arid and semi-arid regions provide an opportunity to address long-standing infrastructure and service delivery gaps. But these counties typically face major capacity gaps to get core county planning, public financial management and human resource systems in place. Meanwhile, the largest cities have inherited significant payroll and debt obligations, at the same time as reduced central transfers.[19]

While it is essential to minimize what will be inevitable hiccups over the next several years, the real challenge is to deliver adevolution dividend.” We recommend that the best path to securing that dividend is through greater citizen engagement, direction, and oversight of public authorities to fundamentally deliver better services to ordinary people and build better local business environments. At the local level it involves building new governmental structures, institutions, and systems that are responsive and responsible; and fresh inter-governmental relationships, including resource transfers that translate policy priorities into meaningful on the ground services.

Public expectations should be carefully managed as to how much and how fast devolution can deliver to avoid disappointment and overloading of weak counties. The needs and opportunities for institutional improvement vary across the levels of agencies involved in the devolution landscape. At the central level, ministries—especially the Treasury and the Ministry of Devolution—have to build capacity to oversee a new way of doing business in which a large share of national tax revenue is passed to county administrations. At the county level, the 47 units need to develop their own ability to be responsive and accountable, not least through transparency in resource use and active citizen engagement. They must also find ways of working together, perhaps through the Council of County Governors, so they can exploit synergies on cross-boundary issues, such as sub-regional (multi-county) business competitiveness, and promote learning from each other.

Garner good governance

Individually and collectively, Kenya’s development agenda will only be possible if the approach is underpinned by a platform to garner good governance, which in some ways has been an Achilles heel in the past. The 2010 Constitution ushered in major changes to help reinforce the institutional “pillars of integrity” and alongside the Public Financial Management Act (2012), it has clarified roles and responsibilities of the Office of the Auditor General, created the Office of the Controller of Budget, and increased the checks and balances with stronger oversight by the legislature over the executive. Judicial independence is also being strengthened. We recommend this effort continues, to do more on the demand and supply side of governance. On the demand side, priority should be accorded in government operations to greater transparency, accountability and openness, third-party monitoring, and increasingly robust public financial management. On the supply side of good governance, accountability will be built through strengthening critical institutions and processes such as the Parliamentary Budget Office, Auditor General, Controller of the Budget, new county assemblies, and citizen participation in key areas.

 

Managing Uncertainty

 

We fully acknowledge a range of risks and uncertainties as Kenya continues its journey on this development path, and these have to be managed carefully. For example, the country must preserve its hard-won macroeconomic stability. To guard against external shocks to its open economy, the mitigation strategy should revolve around the long-term drive to improve competitiveness and exports, combined with a prudent strategy on reserves and international capital access to cope with potential volatility. To guard against internal shocks, vigilance is needed on wage pressures on fiscal policy and populist politics that can create actual or contingent liabilities. For example, there are pressures to hold down power tariffs at unrealistic levels. More broadly the devolution process carries significant fiscal risks such as passing unaffordable central transfers to devolved administrative units, counties not controlling spending to fit available resources, or allowing counties to borrow without careful regulation and oversight.

Disasters and insecurity, natural or man-made, can be expected to occur even though their timing and severity typically cannot be predicted. Weather-related impacts such as droughts need a combination of long-term preventative measures combined with emergency responses (and on-hand resources) when they occur. Being a major exporter to the region, Kenya could experience interruptions with trade due to the conflicts in South Sudan and continued instability in Somalia. The terrorist atrocities at the Westgate Mall created great suffering but also served as an unwelcome reminder of the position Kenya holds in being a target of such threats.

Corruption and weak accountability with impunity remain challenges. Corruption is corrosive and eats away at development prospects. The potential turbulence during the devolution process, for example, may see cases of irregularities reported in some of the new county administrations as their activities expand. Unexpected changes in political leadership, policy direction, and ministerial leads in key sectors could also constitute a strategic risk.

There are other techniques that can be used to help manage the inevitable uncertainties. One of these is in fact to gather better, timely, accurate information and statistics on the country’s conditions as a critical ingredient in responsive, evidence-based policymaking. Just one example of this will be the Government’s urgent steps to solidify poverty estimates with more recent data since Kenya’s last household budget survey was in 2005/6.  Another technique is to have a productive and sustained approach to citizen engagement in policymaking and service delivery. This could include greater access to modern information technology to reach citizens not only in the delivery of services (for example in the payment of cash transfers to the poor) but also to incentivize better delivery of services (for example, reporting on teacher absences). The fact that Kenya is a world leader in “mobile money” through M-pesa suggests that such innovative spirit may be harnessed in other settings.

 

 Conclusion

 

There is an optimistic yet credible scenario for Kenya to drive forward as a success story in Africa. Certainly there are risks which may throw Kenya off course. But by mitigating such risks and responding to key development challenges, Kenya can be well on its way to lift millions out of poverty.

 

Notes

[1] United Nations Population Division, World Population Prospects (New York: UNPD, 2011).

[2] In 2013 Kenya’s score on the World Bank’s Country Policy and Institutional Assessment was 3.9, the highest in Africa and on a par with Cabo Verde and Rwanda. World Bank, Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (Washington: World Bank, 2013), accessed September 4, 2014, http://datatopics.worldbank.org/cpia/.

[3] This is the Gross National Income (GNI) per capita using the World Bank “Atlas method.” World Bank, Gross National Income: (Washington: World Bank, 2014), accessed September 4, 2014, http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GNP.ATLS.CD.

[4] The 2005/6 Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey was the last nationally representative survey conducted by the Government of Kenya to measure poverty. By 2012/3, the poverty rate is estimated to have declined to 39 percent if growth in consumption per capital of all households in all sectors of the economy kept pace with observed growth in GDP per capita.

[5] Michael Spence, “The Growth Report: Strategies for Sustained Growth and Inclusive Development,” Report of the Commission on Growth and Development (Washington: World Bank, 2008).

[6] World Bank Group, “Prosperity for All: Ending Extreme Poverty, A Note for the World Bank Group Spring Meetings 2014” (Washington: World Bank, 2014) and Jubilee Coalition, “Transforming Kenya: Securing Kenya’s Prosperity 2013-2016: The Shared Manifesto of the Coalition between the National Alliance (TNA), The United Republican Party (URP), The National Rainbow Coalition (NARC), and the Republican Congress Party (RC)” (Nairobi: Jubilee Coalition, 2013).

[7] The public sector wage bill is over 50 percent of recurrent spending, compared to a Sub-Saharan African average of 30-35 percent.

[8] The Global Competitiveness Index (WEF) identifies low-productivity as one of Kenya’s key constraints.

[9] World Bank, Achieving shared prosperity in Kenya (Washington: World Bank, 2013), accessed September 4, 2014, http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/2013/08/18523839/achieving-shared-prosperity-kenya.

[10] World Bank Group, “Prosperity for All: Ending Extreme Poverty.”

[11] In agriculture, women provide more than 70 percent of the labor force, yet they own only 1-5 percent of agricultural land titles.

[12] Kenya Bureau of Statistics, Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KHDS) 2008-2009 (Washington: Kenya Bureau of National Statistics, 2009).

[13] United Nations Development Programme, “Kenya’s Youth Employment Challenge: Discussion Paper” (New York: United Nations Development Programme, 2013), accessed September 4, 2014, http://www.undp.org/content/dam/undp/library/Poverty%20Reduction/Inclusive%20development/Kenya_YEC_web(jan13).pdf.

[14] UN Interagency Group for Child Mortality Estimation, “Levels and Trends in Child Mortality, Report 2013” (New York: United Nations Children’s Fund, 2013), accessed September 4, 2014, http://www.childinfo.org/files/Child_Mortality_Report_2013.pdf.

[15] Kenya Ministry of Finance, “Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) for the 2008-2011 Drought” (Nairobi: Kenya Ministry of Finance, 2012), accessed September 4, 2014, http://www.gfdrr.org/sites/gfdrr.org/files/Kenya_PDNA_Final.pdf.

[16] The Worldwide Governance Indicators reports aggregate and individual governance indicators for 215 economies over the period 1996-2012 for six dimensions of governance. World Bank, Worldwide Governance Indicators (Washington: World Bank, 2014), accessed September 4, 2014, http://info.worldbank.org/governance/wgi/index.aspx#home.

[17] Government of Kenya, Vision 2030 (Nairobi: Government of Kenya, 2014), accessed September 4, 2014, http://www.vision2030.go.ke/.

[18] These themes also provide an organizing framework within which some international development assistance, such as from the World Bank Group, can be directed.

[19] World Bank, Devolution without Disruption: Pathways to a Successful New Kenya (Washington: World Bank, 2012).

Thomas O’Brien is a professional economist with over three decades of front-line experience, and has worked at the World Bank since 1994. At the World Bank he currently oversees country programs in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Eritrea—seeking to reduce poverty and promote shared prosperity in all of those locations. His role includes providing advice and financial support to Ministers of Finance and other senior officials, as well as managing relationships with other stakeholders including development partners, civil society, and the Bank’s board.

Hannah Kim is a consultant with the World Bank’s East Africa Country Management Unit, where she monitors, evaluates, and communicates the results of the Kenya and Rwanda programs.

Thomas OBrien and Hannah Kim
Thomas OBrien and Hannah Kim