The East African nation of Kenya has a population estimated at 45.5 million, which increases by one million a year. With support of the World Bank Group (WBG), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other development partners, Kenya has made significant structural and economic reforms that have contributed to sustained economic growth in the past decade. Development challenges include poverty and inequality, and vulnerable of the economy to internal and external shocks.

Political Context

Devolution is rated the biggest gain from the August 2010 constitution, which ushered in a new political and economic governance system. It is transformative and has strengthened accountability and public service delivery at local levels. The government’s agenda is to deepen implementation of devolution and strengthen governance institutions, while addressing other challenges including land reforms and security to improve economic and social outcomes, accelerate growth and equity in distribution of resources, and reduce extreme poverty and youth employment.


Kenya’s economy grew by an estimated 4.9% in the first quarter of 2015, compared to 4.7% in the same period in 2014, according to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. Agriculture, infrastructure, financial services and ICT contributed to the growth, but manufacturing and tourism declined. The economy grew by 5.4% in 2014 and the World Bank, in its Kenya Economic Update for March 2015,projected the economy will grow by 6% in 2015, supported by lower energy costs, investment in infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing and other industries. A stable macroeconomic environment, continued investment in infrastructure, improved business environment, exports and regional integration will help sustain the growth momentum.

The government has also maintained fiscal and monetary discipline, despite increasing pressure from the devolution process and rising public sector wage bill. Total public debt has increased but remains sustainable, according to Central Bank figures, while inflation and interest rates remained stable. The stock exchange weakened due to net foreign investor sales, while the Kenya shilling weakened against the US dollar and other major currencies.  

With the increased competitiveness of the manufacturing sector which will be a key driver of growth, exports and job creation, Kenya is emerging as one of Africa’s key growth centers and is also poised to become one of the fastest growing economies in East Africa.

Social Developments

Kenya has met a few of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) targets, including reduced child mortality, near universal primary school enrolment and narrower gender gaps in education. Interventions and increased spending on health and education are paying dividends. Devolved health care and free maternal health care at all public health facilities will improve health care outcomes and develop a more equitable health care system.

Development Challenges

Kenya has the potential to be one of Africa’s great success stories from its growing and youthful population, a dynamic private sector, a new constitution, and its pivotal role in East Africa.  Addressing challenges of poverty, inequality, governance, low investment and low firm productivity to achieve rapid, sustained growth rates that will transform the lives of ordinary citizens, will be a major goal for the country. 

Last Updated: Oct 01, 2015

The World Bank Group’s (WBG) strategy for Kenya is to support the government’s strategy of ending extreme poverty and increasing shared prosperity. The WBG’s Kenya Country Partnership Strategy FY14-18 (CPS) focuses on improving the economy’s competitiveness and sustainability, protecting and helping the vulnerable to develop their potential, and building consistency and equity through devolution. During the CPS period, the WBG plans investment of $1 billion a year in Kenya, through the International Development Association (IDA), International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).

The current International Development Association (IDA) portfolio amounts to nearly $6 billion in 27 national projects ($4.5 billion) and eight regional projects ($1.46 billion). This includes new commitments of $500 million in East Africa Regional Transport, Trade and Development Facilitation Project approved in June 2015, and $457.5 million for Electricity Modernization Project, approved in March 2015. 

The largest commitments are in infrastructure, which are the foundations for reducing the cost of doing business and improving Kenya’s competitiveness in the East African Community (EAC), and globally. Other priorities include public administration, law and justice, focusing on reform and governance, and investing in people through health and social protection programs. Knowledge and analytic work in key areas are also part of the strategy.


IFC supports Kenya’s private enterprises through direct investments, advisory services and capital from global financiers. IFC has invested $900 million in Kenya’s agribusiness, infrastructure, financial markets, health and education.  Its investments in a range of companies include in Kenya Airways, Bridge International Academies, National Cement, AAR Healthcare, Faulu Kenya and Vegpro. IFC’s clients and partners are tackling pressing development challenges, including access to power, healthcare and food. Small businesses are engines for Kenya’s growth, creating jobs and providing essential goods and services, but entrepreneurs are often unable to access finance IFC’s Africa Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise Finance Program helps banks increase business with the SME sector. IFC invests directly in banks to increase lending to entrepreneurs, and advises them on how to tailor their financial services for SMEs. Its partners in Kenya include Equity Bank, Bank of Africa, Diamond Trust Bank and Kenya Commercial Bank.

IFC and the Bank also support the government to improve business regulation through reforms in registering businesses, getting credit and other areas. IFC’s investments and technical support have also helped Kenyan companies expand operations across East Africa.

Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA)

MIGA is providing investment guarantees of $281 million in support of projects in Kenya’s infrastructure, power, agribusiness and service sectors. Working closely with the Bank and IFC, it helps to leverage financing for construction of privately operated power plants to diversify Kenya’s energy mix in line with the government’s least cost power development plan. MIGA is receiving increasing interest from other investors and sectors in the country.

Last Updated: Oct 01, 2015

The World Bank Group (WBG) has contributed to Kenya’s development in all major economic and social sectors including the following:


The $330 million Kenya Electricity Expansion Project (KEEP), approved in 2010, has increased electricity access to Kenyans in urban, peri-urban and rural areas, and expanded geothermal power generation as part of Kenya’s green energy development. By 2015, the project was rated satisfactory, with a disbursement rate of 80%. It has scaled up electricity from geothermal, increasing supply of clean and reliable energy and expanded electricity access. A 280MW geothermal plant in Olkaria commissioned in February 2015 increased electricity access to industrial and domestic consumers, and reduced electricity bills by 30%. The WBG’s contribution connected 2.6 million additional Kenyans in 890,000 households to electricity by 2014. Innovative combination of WBG, IFC and MIGA credits and guarantees is supporting thermal, geothermal and wind generation capacity of 600 megawatts.


WBG’s $460 million investment in the Northern Corridor Transport Improvement Project has supported the rrehabilitation of the Northern Road Corridor, roadside amenities and HIV/AIDS mitigation, private sector participation in road management, road safety improvement, and reforms at Kenya Airports Authority, Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, and Ministry of Transport. By April 2015, the project was rated satisfactory, with a disbursement rate of 93%. The project has reduced travel times from Mombasa port to Timboroa from 14.5 to nine hours. Independent roads entities have been created, while aviation sub-sector institutions now have financial autonomy. The project has helped ease cost of doing business, improved business climate, and strengthened regional integration in East Africa Community.


Kenya Transparency and Communications Infrastructure Project (KTCIP), approved in 2007, lowered prices of international capacity and extended geographical reach of broadband networks, and improved Government efficiency and transparency through e-government applications. By December 2014, 33.6 million Kenyans had mobile phones, equivalent to a penetration of 82.6%, while internet users were 26.1 million (64.3/100 people), according to Communications Authority data.


The WBG’s $87 million for Health Sector Support Program credit has helped recapitalize Kenya Medical Supplies Authority, reconfigure its business model, and devolve funds for medical supplies procurement for counties. The new self-sustaining model has reduced interruptions of supply of medical commodities to public health facilities.

Social Protection

Through the National Safety Net Program for Results and Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children, the WBG has helped to address Kenya’s social challenges through investments in social protection. These programs, supported by the WBG and other partners, have built sustainable livelihoods for the poor and vulnerable, engaged them in productive activities, increased dietary diversity, improved their access to health care, and also contributed to better education outcomes for poor and vulnerable children. Coverage increased from 500 households in 2004 to 500,000 in 2014. Combined, these programs provide regular, predictable cash transfers to three million poor and vulnerable households.  

Last Updated: Oct 01, 2015

The World Bank Group (WBG) has established strong partnerships for knowledge and resources with other development partners, researchers and agencies that contribute to Kenya’s development. These include European Union and European Investment Bank, the African Development Bank, France’s Agence Française de Développement, United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, German Development Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency and China.

Last Updated: Oct 01, 2015


Kenya: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments