Kenya: resources for poverty eradication


This paper provides an analysis of the Government of Kenya’s (GoK) public expenditure in, and donor contributions to, the education, health and agriculture sectors, which all play key roles in poverty eradication. It is a comprehensive background analysis on resources in Kenya and reveals that the GoK and donors have different expenditure priorities. It is therefore necessary to understand what drives prioritisation and decision making processes between donors and the government.

Agriculture provides a source of livelihood to 71.1% of Kenyans, but it remains the most underfunded sector when compared to education and health – by both donors and the government. Stronger accountability mechanisms need to be in place which binds the government to the stipulations they make in the country’s Vision 2030 plan.

Education spending in Kenya is higher than in Uganda and South Sudan, and Kenya has some of  the best education indicators in the region.

The report reveals that:

  • The proportion of Kenyans living below the national poverty line fell from 52.2% in 1999 to 47% in 2005. Uganda had the lowest proportion living below the national poverty line in the region (24.5%), followed by Tanzania (33.2%) and Ethiopia (38.9%). According to the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2011, 47.8% of Kenyans were in multidimensional poverty.
  • Government expenditure increased from US$4.3 billion in 2002/03 to US$15.3 billion in 2011/12 – a per capita increase from US$129.7 to US$363.7. Aid to Kenya also increased from US$552.6 million in 2002 to US$1.8 billion in 2009.
  • The education sector had the highest expenditure. Its expenditure as a proportion of total expenditure averaging 18.8% between 2002/03 and 2011/12 compared to 4.8% for health and 2.5% for agriculture spending.
  • The Teachers Service Commission had the highest education expenditure within the education budget (an average of US$937.9 million, or 63%). A large proportion of health spending went towards health care provision (an average of US$357.2 million, or 88%). For the agriculture sector, significant spending went to research and extension (an average of US$93.7 million).
  • Funding priorities of the GoK and donors differ – GoK funds education more than health and agriculture, while donors fund health more.
  • The GoK is yet to meet its commitments regarding the health and agriculture budget allocation as agreed upon in the Maputo declaration and Abuja declaration respectively (Maputo declaration: commit 15% of national budget to health. Abuja declaration: commit 10% of national budget to agriculture).