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PRESS RELEASE

Kenya: World Bank Group to Support Push for More Jobs, Infrastructure, and Better Services to Lift Millions Out of Poverty

June 5, 2014

New Country Partnership Strategy to provide $4 billion in opportunities for more growth and shared prosperity

WASHINGTON, June 5, 2014—The World Bank Group today endorsed a new five year development strategy  to help Kenya succeed in its efforts to boost economic growth sustainably, create more jobs for young people, build vital infrastructure, and devolve power to regional communities  in order to  end extreme poverty and share prosperity among all Kenyans.

The new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Kenya, endorsed by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today, anticipates delivering over $4 billion of financing in the next five years to support Kenya to realize its potential to become one of Africa’s enduring economic powers by removing the obstacles to more growth and significantly less poverty.

The joint strategy by the Bank, IFC and MIGA is part of a sustained effort to help fulfill Kenya’s ambitions of becoming a modern economy in which growing prosperity is shared across all communities.

This is a special time in Kenya, especially as the government moves to decentralize more power and public services to local communities,” said Diariétou Gaye, World Bank Country Director for Kenya. “We have a unique opportunity to help Kenya create jobs, build infrastructure, and to lift millions of its citizens out of poverty over the long term and ensure that they share in the country’s growing prosperity.”

While Kenya has grown on average at 4.6 percent annually over the last decade, poverty and inequality have fallen less dramatically which has prevented many Kenyans from sharing in the benefits of the country’s strong economic performance. Inequality remains high in terms of opportunities and outcomes between men and women, Kenya’s growing youth population, and people living in remote, underdeveloped regions of the country.  

The Bank Group’s new strategy is aligned with the government’s Vision 2030 priorities, which calls for rapid, sustained growth as the key driver in reducing poverty and creating opportunity for all. The Bank is supporting these priorities through its development investments in more and better quality infrastructure, improved health, social protection, rural development, and other areas that can increase economic opportunities while lowering inequality.  

The Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation will provide investments and advisory services to help expand access to finance, promote more competitive businesses and improve the investment climate, while supporting agribusiness and infrastructure, as well as other important economic sectors.

“Inclusive growth requires job creation through a dynamic private sector,” said Oumar Seydi, IFC’s Director for Eastern and Southern Africa. “We aim to expand our support for strong businesses in an increasingly competitive economy.”

The Bank, IFC, and MIGA are committed to leveraging private resources for innovative financing for infrastructure including public-private partnerships in energy, water and transport.

“MIGA will continue to scale up its support in the energy sector, and will help mobilize sustainable private investments that support job creation,” said Michel Wormser, MIGA Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

The strategy focuses on three areas, competitiveness and sustainability; protection and potential; and, building consistency and equity; underpinned by  the connecting platform of  good governance —to improve accountability and ensure that resources at national and county levels are spent properly and get to those for whom they are intended. .

The CPS 2014-2018 was prepared in close consultation with the Kenyan Government, and benefitted from substantial input from an extensive consultations process with the national and county governments, the private sector and civil society organizations in several counties across the country.

Key Domains of Engagement of the World Bank Group’s CPS (2014-2018) for Kenya

  • Competitiveness and sustainability—achieving rapid and uninterrupted growth over a decade or more will require a sound macroeconomic framework and private sector-led growth. Bank (IDA) finance will help support critical publicly merited investments including in more reliable electricity and safer water supply. IFC and MIGA instruments will help leverage private resources to create jobs, improve infrastructure, and provide better services to make cities more livable and environmentally and socially sustainable.
  • Protection and potential—the strategy will help protect the vulnerable against poverty, and help them develop their potential so that all groups share in advancing prosperity. An additional 450,000 people are expected to benefit from cash support in the national social safety net program, including those disproportionately affected by severe malnutrition in drought-affected areas. The Bank Group will also focus on job creation in agriculture, helping farmers generate permanent incomes, and uplifting the growing youth population in the formal sector.
  • Decentralizing power and public services to promote greater equity and long term consistency of public services. This drive has devolution as its core, and the challenge is to ensure that the transfer of power and responsibilities to the 47 new counties translates to better services to ordinary people, supportive business environments at the local level, greater citizen engagement in public life, and robust financial management and oversight of all public authorities.

About the World Bank Group

The World Bank Group plays a key role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. It consists of five institutions:  the World Bank, including the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA); the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Working together in more than 100 countries, these institutions provide financing and other solutions that enable countries to address the most urgent challenges of development. For more information, please visit www.worldbank.org, www.miga.org, and www.ifc.org.

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PRESS RELEASE NO:
2014/558/AFR