Nairobi, February 3, 2012—Kenya has the opportunity to achieve higher, more sustainable growth if it increases investments in infrastructure and climate resilient development, Rachel Kyte, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development, said in Nairobi at the end of a three day official visit.
“This is an important year for Kenya and we trust that the momentum of growth and reform will be maintained,” said Kyte. “My sense from this visit is that there are abundant opportunities to transform Kenya by good execution of plans for infrastructure, including energy, transport and water. Kenya’s transformation is also key to regional integration.”
Kyte said more efficient transport systems, green energy investments, and actions on adaptation to climate change will increase Kenya’s competitiveness in the East African region and provide safer livelihoods for millions of Kenyans.
In talks with President Mwai Kibaki, Kyte reaffirmed the Bank’s commitment to assist Kenya meet its critical challenges, including providing additional resources of about US$1.5 billion to bridge investment deficits in the water, energy and transport sectors.
President Kibaki lauded the Bank for its partnership across all key sectors of the economy. He urged the Bank to continue supporting Kenya’s growth plans and advising on economic development policy.
Kyte also held bilateral meetings with Robinson Njeru Githae, Acting Minister for Finance, Franklin Bett, Minister for Roads, and Sally Kosgei, Minister for Agriculture. In addition, she had discussions with permanent secretaries for energy, housing and water during field visits to Bank-supported projects in geothermal development, urban services, and natural resource management.
At Olkaria, she said that to meet the government’s target to increase electricity access from 25% to 40% of households by 2020 will require increased leveraging of private sector investment in energy.
In Naivasha’s Karagita settlement scheme, she was impressed by the community participation in upgrading of access roads, water and sanitation, lighting and solid waste disposal.
She also visited Murang’a where local communities in the upper Tana River catchment are making a living from preservation of water sources and indigenous forests in partnership with Kenya Forest Service, water management authorities and the National Irrigation Board.
“What you are doing is making this country healthier,” she said during a visit to one of the groups, which is propagating the production and use of bamboo as a water-friendly alternative to water-demanding eucalyptus along riverine areas.
Moreover, Kyte held discussions with representatives of the private sector, civil society, development partners, and the media to listen to their perspectives on the opportunities for sustainable development in Kenya.
The Bank has a portfolio of US$2.8 billion in Kenya invested in 21 national and 6 regional projects, with the largest share of this (83 percent of commitments) being in sustainable development—transport, energy, water, urban development and agriculture. The World Bank Group has invested an additional US$316 million through the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and US$149 million in insurance cover by the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) to five private investment projects.
The World Bank’s Country Partnership Strategy for 2010-2013 is aligned with its Africa Strategy and focuses on competitiveness and employment as well as vulnerability and resilience, with enhanced governance as a foundation supporting all sectors.