The World Bank Group’s (WBG) finance and knowledge partnership with Kenya has made significant contributions to all major economic and social sectors.
The WBG has supported the Kenya government to rapidly scale up electricity from geothermal to increase the supply of clean and reliable energy and expand electricity access, which is critical for economic growth and reducing the cost of doing business. In February 2015, the government commissioned the final phase of a 280 megawatts geothermal development in Olkaria, which reduced electricity bills to consumers by over 30 percent. The expanded green energy growth program was part of the Kenya Electricity Expansion Project (KEEP), in which the government, the WBG and other development partners have invested $1.3 billion on geothermal power and associated infrastructure. The investment also increased electricity access to industrial and domestic consumers. The WBG has invested over $650 million in the energy sector through KEEP, Energy Sector Recovery and Private Sector Power Generation. The WBG’s contribution connected an estimated 1.75 million additional Kenyans in 350,000 households to electricity between 2009 and 2011. Over 1,200 km of new transmission and distribution lines were constructed during the period. These programs focus on increasing electricity access from 25% to over 40% of the population in the next decade by scaling up reliable, green energy development to reduce vulnerability to weather dependent hydro and high cost fossil fuels. Also, an innovative combination of WBG, IFC and the MIGA credits and guarantees is supporting thermal, geothermal and wind generation capacity of 600 megawatts.
Rehabilitation of the Northern Corridor Transport system, the country’s most important trade artery, has reduced travel times from the port of Mombasa to Timboroa from 14.5 hours to nine hours. The increased efficiency has greatly facilitated trade and regional integration in the Eastern Africa region, easing the cost of doing business in Kenya and also with its western neighbors; Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The WBG has invested $460 million in the Northern Corridor Transport Improvement Project since its implementation in June 2004, contributing half of the $960 million that the government is investing in the project. The project has also enhanced aviation safety at Kenya’s international airports and enabled Kenya to rehabilitate and replace infrastructure and public assets damaged during the 2008 post-election crisis, and promoted private sector participation in the management, financing, and maintenance of road assets. These benefits will further be consolidated with the implementation of the Transport Sector Support Project, to upgrade over 220 km of roads on the northern and western corridors, improve air transport and support growth of key economic sectors. This project will also improve business climate in the western region and strengthen regional integration in the East Africa Community (EAC) by reducing transport bottlenecks on the Tanzania-Kenya-Sudan road corridor. With additional financing in March 2014, WBG funding for the project increased to $503.5 million.
Further benefits in the ease of doing business in the region have been achieved through the link of the Northern Corridor project to the East African Trade and Transport Facilitation Project, a $150.6 million WBG intervention that has helped improve customs clearance and eased traffic congestion at the Kenya-Uganda border. The transport facilitation project will also expedite rail transport from Mombasa port to Uganda and other EAC countries.
WBG support through the Water and Sanitation Service Improvement Project has enabled Kenya to scale up access to improved water and sewerage services. From 2007 through 2011, access to improved water services in Bank-financed project areas increased from 27% to 50%, and access to improved sewerage services from 10% to 20%. The $450 million project has supported Athi Water Services, Coast Water Services and Lake Victoria North Services boards to provide reliable, affordable and sustainable water supply and sanitation services. It is also providing technical assistance, goods and works to the Water Sector Regulatory Board and the Water Appeals Board. The WBG is also helping Kenya to address water and climate issues through a $155 million Water Security and Climate Resilience Project, which is supporting development of water resources and expanding capacity for irrigation, and the Coastal Region Water Security and Climate Resilience Project, a $200 million operation that is helping to increase access to clean water supply, sanitation and income generating activities through sustainable agriculture among communities at the Kenyan coastal region.
Kenya has also emerged a leader in the transformative use of information and communication technologies in East Africa and worldwide. Supported by the WBG through the Kenya Transparency and Communications Infrastructure Project (KTCIP), Kenya’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector has become the main driver of economic growth, expanding by 20% on average annually and adding one percentage points annually to GDP growth over the past decade. By December 2011, 26.8 million Kenyans or nearly every adult Kenyan, were using mobile phones, and those with internet access nearly doubled to 14.3 million (37% of the population) from 7.8 million (20% of the population) in only one year from December 2010 to December 2011. By December 2014, mobile subscriptions reached an estimated 33.6 million, equivalent to a penetration of 82.6%, while internet users were 26.1 million or 64.3 per 100 people, according to the latest data from the Communications Authority of Kenya. The WBG also actively supported Kenya to deploy one of the first major government open data portals among developing countries. In July 2011, former President Mwai Kibaki launched the Kenya Open Data portal, providing free public access to large digital datasets. The WBG approved additional funding of $55.1 million in March 2012 and another $30 million in March 2014, scaling up KTCIP to $199.5 million, to consolidate transformative ICT applications and deepen gains from innovation.
In the health sector, 25.3 million people, half of them women directly benefited from activities supported by the Bank and other development partners under the Health Sector Support Program and half a million children were immunized in the first year, between 2010 and 2011. The government also, with Bank support, intensified the fight against malaria and HIV infections. Distribution of anti-malarial bed-nets contributed to a sharp fall in child and infant mortality, down from 115 to 74 and 77 to 52 per 1,000 respectively between 2003 and 2008-2009.
The WBG has also substantially assisted Kenya to address social challenges through investments in social protection, as well as address the vulnerability of communities in arid and semi-arid areas through investment in disaster preparedness and alternative livelihood opportunities. A new regional pastoralism development program, with an allocation of $77 million for Kenya, will help to improve the livelihoods of pastoral communities and support the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development to promote sustainable pastoralism development.
Last Updated: Apr 28, 2015