Kenya: Factsheet April 2007

About Kenya

National absolute poverty has declined from 52.3% in 1997 to 45.9% in 2005/06 but inequality remains high. (1) in 5 Kenyans have consumption levels that are inadequate to meet basic food needs1.

The economy has been growing steadily over the last three years (4.9% in 2004, 5.8% in 2005 and around 6.0% projected for 20062), but it is not yet sufficient to make rapid progress in reducing poverty.

The Government still faces major political and economic challenges including ethnic divisions, weak and corrupt institutions and a run-down infrastructure.

Life expectancy is 45 years(3). More than 1 in 10 children dies before their fifth birthday.

For every 100,000 births, more than 400 women die in childbirth (the rate in the UK is less than 10).

Just under 6% of the adult population lives with HIV/AIDS (about 1.1 million people). In the UK the number is around 60,0003.

6 in 10 Kenyans have access to water from an improved source(2)

DFID: Working to reduce poverty in Kenya

DFID's primary aim in Kenya is to reduce poverty in line with the internationally agreed targets. To do this we support the implementation of the Economic Recovery Strategy by helping the Government to improve the economy and deliver essential services to the poor. Since 2001/02, DFID has spent over £170 million in Kenya, making us the second largest bilateral donor. In financial year 2007/08 DFID will provide a further £50 million in assistance.

Making aid effective

Corruption remains a significant problem in Kenya. The Transparency International Corruption Index ranks Kenya 142nd out of 163 countries. DFID helps to tackle corruption through support to improving political accountability, investigations and prosecutorial capacity, the introduction of new legislation, strengthening systems of accountability and transparency, and civic education.

DFID does not presently provide general budget support to Kenya, i.e Poverty Reduction Budget Support (PRBS). Instead our funds are managed separately by reliable Financial Management Agents such as KPMG or PWC, or through special, earmarked accounts, or provided directly to civil society. In this way, financial risks are minimised while delivering key benefits to poor Kenyans and making a real contribution towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). We shall only consider providing PRBS when significant progress on implementing reform, tackling corruption and reducing fiduciary risk has been made.

We are working alongside the Government of Kenya (GOK) and 15 other donors to produce a Joint Assistance Strategy. This will provide a clear direction for the international community in support of the government and ensure more coherence in the delivery of aid programmes.


DFID supports the GOK to develop and implement its public financial management and accountability reform programme; which includes the computerisation and integration of financial information, improved procurement systems and capacity building of the Kenya National Audit Office . Also DFID leads the Democratic Governance Donor Group which has helped the GOK develop a Governance Strategy for a Prosperous Kenya, a Governance Action Plan and supported the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission with mutual legal assistance.

DFID's Political Empowerment Programme has a number of areas of support: assistance to the Electoral Commission of Kenya and domestic observation for the 2007 elections, funding a number of influential NGOs promoting accountability and support to the media.

DFID Supports the GOK Public Sector Reform Programme: 'Results for Kenya'. This has many components including contracts based on results for senior civil servants, a rapid results initiative for key Government departments and transformatory leadership.


Our support to tackling malaria (£47 million over six years) will have delivered 11 million new insecticide treated bednets by the end of 2007. We expect that this will save 167,000 lives. Additional on-going support to Malaria (£17m from 2002-08) will contribute to the roll out of new combination therapies, improve the response to epidemics, and fund a net retreatment and a communication programme.

DFID is currently developing a new 5-year health programme in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and other development partners to develop a Sector Wide Approach to support critical health priorities across Kenya.


DFID has provided £43 million towards the fight against HIV and AIDS. The focus of the HIV Programme is to support the Government implement its National HIV/AIDS Strategy and aim for universal access to prevention, treatment and care. We are funding the social marketing of condoms as part of our support to the prevention of new infections and it aims to sell over 27 million condoms during 2006.

In Nyanza, the Ministry of Health with support from DFID/Mildmay has provided home based care to over 64,000 people living with AIDS and to 110,000 Orphans and Vulnerable children. DFID contributed to help the Government and partners to provide ARVs to 120,000 people by end 2006.


DFID has committed £55 million to the education sector over the next 5 years to support the sector wide Kenya Education Sector Support Programme (KESSP) providing teaching and learning materials, enhance teachers skills, provide 11,880 new and rehabilitated primary school classrooms, and enhance water and sanitation facilities.

Our support has helped develop, in all 18,500 public primary schools: a world class decentralised system for textbook procurement, including establishing bank accounts and special committees, disbursement of per capita grants and public display of receipts and expenditures leading to greater transparency and accountability. And a national HIV/AIDS prevention programme for upper primary schools.


DFID has provided over £30 million of humanitarian support to the victims of natural and man-made disasters in Kenya since 2004. In the longer term, poverty reduction efforts, including social protection and drought contingency schemes may come to reduce humanitarian needs.

Social Protection

DFID expects to provide £120 million to support social protection in Kenya over the next 10 years. The programme will provide cash transfers to vulnerable households in the arid and semi-arid areas to help them plan expenditure and build up assets, and to orphans and vulnerable children to encourage fostering within their communities. It will also support the Government to build a national framework that addresses extreme poverty and tackles vulnerability in Kenya.


DFID supports the Government to collect and disseminate real poverty data through the Kenya Integrated Household Budget survey (launched April 07) and the linked Participatory Poverty Assessment, which will be used by the Government, ordinary Kenyans and the International Community to inform future policy decisions. DFID has committed in excess of £ 6.5 million over 5 years.

Trade, Growth & Private Sector Development

DFID's work focuses on implementing the GoK's Private Sector Development Strategy by improving the enabling environment for growth and supporting innovative approaches to improving livelihood opportunities for poor people.

We are supporting measures that improve investor confidence and reduce the cost of doing business. The Financial Sector Deepening Project costing £11.3 million over five years supports banks through capacity building, assisting the development of financial products for poor people and lending to small enterprises. Similarly the Kenya Trade and Poverty Programme has helped the government to mainstream and align trade negotiations.

Making progress against the Millennium Development Goals....

Kenya is making strong progress on primary education. 86% of children are currently enrolled in primary schools (compared to 62% in 1992) and gender equality in primary school is now at 98%.

It is estimated that DFID's support to tackling Malaria will save 167,000 children's lives, and reduce under-5 mortality in Kenya by at least 15%, putting Kenya more on track to meeting the infectious diseases MDG.

HIV/AIDS prevalence has fallen from over 11% to 6.1% over the past five years.

For more information about DFID's work in Kenya please visit If you are a journalist and wish to know more about DFID and its work to reduce poverty in Africa please call DFID press office: 0207023 0600.


(1) Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey 2005/06

(2) 2004 Kenya National Bureau of Statistics

(3) 2003 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey