Kenya Kwanza Plan

william samoei ruto

rigathi gachagua



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Kenyans are rightfully skeptical of lofty promises and seemingly well-crafted plans that never get implemented. We have developed this plan well aware that it will stand or fall on the how question. There are three tests that a good plan must pass, namely prioritisation, sequencing and financing.


A good healthcare system is something all countries struggle to achieve. The Covid19 pan demic has demonstrated how important this is, and also shown that even wealthy countries can be badly exposed by health emergencies. One of the lessons from the Covid19 crisis is that, although resources matter, the qualitative aspects of the system matter more for health outcomes.

A good healthcare system is something all countries struggle to achieve. The Covid19 pan demic has demonstrated how important this is, and also shown that even wealthy countries can be badly exposed by health emergencies. One of the lessons from the Covid19 crisis is that, although resources matter, the qualitative aspects of the system matter more for health outcomes.

Our country is moving in the right direction, but we need to be more creative, deliberate and ambitious in how we use the substantial resources spent on healthcare to address old and emerging challenges. We need to build on the momentum of recovery from the Covid 19 pandemic to build back better, for we know not when the next health emergency will hit. Of particular concern is the growing burden of non-communicable diseases such as cancers, heart disease and diabetes-related complications that, if not addressed urgently, will become a threat not only to health but also to the socio-economic wellbeing of the country. Presently, 36 per cent of Kenyans are at risk of being impoverished by the financial burden of catastrophic illness. There is also the question of financing programmes that are currently heavily donor-dependent and yet not properly planned for transition to domestic financing even as donors make plans to transition out. The HIV, TB, malaria, family planning, immunisation, and nutrition programmes are key donor-funded and the gains already realised must be guarded jealously.

The most recent assessment shows that our total health expenditure (THE) stands at Sh550 billion a year, financed by government (63 per cent), by households “out of pocket” (27 per cent) and the balance of 10 per cent also financed by households through insurance schemes. The out-of-pocket share translates to Sh150 billion per year, which is a big burden to households. This is the reason that one in three families is at risk of falling into poverty because of the financial burden of catastrophic illness. The number is growing daily as the non-communicable disease burden grows.

Over the last decade, considerable progress made in enrolling Kenyans in NHIF, has seen insurance penetration double from 10 per cent of the population in 2003 to 20 per cent in 2018. That said, the penetration is uneven with Nairobi at over 40 per cent, while Wajir is still below 1 percent. This increase in contributions was achieved partly by increased enrolment and partly by change of contribution structure from a flat rate of Sh300 a month to a graduated contribution ranging from Sh150 to Sh1,700 a person.

But the NHIF still falls far short of the social health insurance scheme that it ought to be, both in its design as well as operational performance. These shortcomings include:

  • NHIF is primarily designed to be funded by statutory payroll deductions from employees in the formal wage economy. As observed earlier in this manifesto, this number is only 15 per cent of Kenya’s workforce. While NHIF has sought to expand coverage to the vast majority who are self-employed through voluntary enrolment, this has come with challenges notably intermittent payments of people typically enrolling when they are unwell. This is a systemic problem of insurance known as adverse selection. The statutory payroll system is also inequitable because deduction is on individuals while benefits accrue to households. Thus households with one payroll worker and those with two or more receive the same benefits even though they contribute different amounts.
  • Shift towards curative at the expense of preventive care, with the share of inpatient expenditure increasing from 23 per cent to 29 percent over the last decade (2010 - 2020), while the preventive care spending declining from 24 to 12 per cent. The shift from cheap to expensive is a systemic problem with insurance financed healthcare systems.
  • Fragmented overlapping schemes within the NHIF, for example, Linda Mama, civil servants scheme, school children and elderly support, undermine the principle and benefits of the widest possible risk pooling that a social health insurance scheme is supposed to provide.
  • The operational capacity has not grown in tandem with the enrolment, leading to inefficiency, high administrative costs, and poor responsiveness to its customers and service providers.

Digital Superhighway & Creative Economy

Kenya has invested heavily in ICT infra structure and services over the last two decades. This infrastructure includes six submarine fiber-optic cables offering broadband connectivity, 9000km of terrestrial fiber-optic cable connecting virtually all county headquarters, and geographical and population mobile broadband coverage of 56 per cent of the 96 per cent respectively.

Kenya has invested heavily in ICT infra structure and services over the last two decades. This infrastructure includes six submarine fiber-optic cables offering broadband connectivity, 9000km of terrestrial fiber-optic cable connecting virtually all county headquarters, and geographical and population mobile broadband coverage of 56 per cent of the 96 per cent respectively.

Mobile telephone penetration and innovation has enabled Kenya to increase from a quarter to over 80 per cent of the population in less than two decades, making Kenya one of the world’s leading users of mobile payments. The Covid 19 crisis demonstrated just how critical digital penetration is in terms of business continuity, as it enabled many essential services to proceed with minimum interruption during the lockdowns.

Still, important economic benefits expected have yet to materialise. Notably, there was high hope that the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry would become a leading export and job creating sector. Kenya was ranked together with The Philippines, which exports $30 billion and employs an estimated 1.3 million people. The industry has yet to take off. The Konza Technopolis has been in the works for two decades and seems no closer to becoming a reality than it was a decade ago.

The digital superhighway will also play a critical role in enabling us to make tremendous achievement in the other four pillars of Health, Agriculture, MSME and Financing as well in enhancing revenue collection via automation of VAT systems. It will ameliorate challenges

related to information asymmetry in market access and risk management. It also comes in handy in minimising barriers to entry for new financial providers that are critical in downscaling access to the Hustler Fund via Government risk mitigation mechanism through provision of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system for all participants.

Areas such as public procurement where digital transformation could have delivered huge gains are yet to be realised.

Kenya Kwanza commitment

  • Universal broadband availability throughout the country within five years. We shall increase and fast-track broadband connectivity across the country by construction of 100,000km of national fibre optic connectivity network;
  • Enhance government service delivery through digitisation and automation of all government critical processes and make available 80 per cent of government services online;
  • Establish Africa Regional Hub and promote development of software for export;
  • The implementation of the Digital Master Plan will adhere to environmental agreements in which Kenya is a signatory;
  • Reduce the cost of calls and data to allow wananchi, and especially the youth, to use online platforms for entertainment, information and business;
  • Establish a Presidential Advisory Council on Science and Technology Policy that will ensure a whole of government approach to technological development and use and build necessary capacities across government;
  • The administration will strengthen Konza Technopolis to bring together industry, academic institutions and other innovators to co-invest in emerging technologies to create high-quality jobs that leverage on artificial intelligence, robotics and other technologies and thus enhance our regional and global competitiveness.

Financial Commitment

Sh40 billion (to be financed by the Universal Service Fund).

Creative Economy

Kenya has a highly talented youth on a diverse spectrum of creative work, including music, theatre, graphic design, digital animation, fashion and craft, among others. The digital revolution, buttressed by Kenya’s good connectivity has opened up opportunities for this sector to be a significant economic actor in its own right. Additionally, the creative industry can add value to Kenya’s exports such as fashion, leather products and craft industries. A visit to the now ubiquitous “Maasai markets” will demonstrate potential that requires only very little support to grow into a significant craft export industry.


Agriculture is the largest sector of the economy, contributing half of Kenya’s GDP, a quarter directly and another quarter indirectly. Two-thirds of Kenyans derive either all or part of their incomes from agriculture. Agriculture thus remains the foundation of the economy. Many of the challenges that we are experiencing can be traced to agriculture, either directly or indirectly. 

At a time when the price of unga (maize flour) has hit an unprecedented Sh230, the role of agriculture to the cost of living need not be belaboured. Food accounts for 54 per cent of household expenditures, but the poor spend 60 per cent or more. Agricultural productivity has not kept up with population growth, resulting in higher dependence on food imports. Over the last decade, food imports have increased from 10 to 17 per cent. This, in turn, has increased our exposure to global price shocks.

The case for investing in agriculture, as the sector that will lead the economic recovery, is predicated on seven factors.

Quick turnaround: First, agriculture offers the quickest payback period for investments. This is because, in many cases, there is no 

new capital investment required. Increasing production only requires addressing the cost, quality and availability of inputs (animal feeds, 

seeds, fertilisers, pesticides etc) and providing farmers with the working capital to buy adequate supply of the inputs as well as other direct production expenses such as ploughing of land and labour.

Consider the case of the dairy sector. The biggest challenge that farmers face is the cost of animal feeds. We know that nutrition impacts 

on milk production in a matter of weeks. With a dairy herd estimated at 2.2 million lactating 

cows in Kenya, an increase in average productivity by 0.5kg per cow translates to 401 million kilogrammes of milk with a farm gate value of Sh16 billion at Sh40 a kilogramme. We have estimated that provision of Sh4,000 per cow, a total of Sh8.8 billion would be sufficient working capital for our dairy farmers.

Cost of living: The cost of living that we are experiencing can only be resolved by raising agricultural productivity. The battle is between farmers needing higher incomes and consumers who want low prices. Maize is a good example: Planting an acre at a cost of Sh5000 and producing 10 bags equates to a cost of Sh500 a bag, while producing 25 bags equates to a cost of Sh200 a bag. So the higher the number of bags produced an acre, the lower the cost of production.

A farmer may see the cost of diesel as the main challenge while, in fact, the problem is low productivity. The same applies to fixed costs such as labour, since weeding an acre that yields 10-bag or 25-bag crop takes the same amount of labour. By enhancing productivity through access to affordable inputs, including fertilizer and certified seeds, the farmer will earn more and subsequently reduce the six million bags imported annually and lower the cost to the consumer

Foreign exchange: As noted, our dependence on food imports has grown considerably in recent years. Edible oils, palm oil primarily, is our second largest import after petroleum, on which we are spending Sh60 billion a year before the recent price surge, which pushed the import bill to over Sh90 billion. Our rice deficit is about 600,000MT, costing Sh25 billion about the same as our coffee export earnings. Three food commodities -- edible oils, wheat and rice -- are consuming an equivalent of 25 per cent of our goods’ export earnings. We have the capacity to produce a bigger share of our consumption of edible oils and rice competitively.

Agriculture is also the sector that we are most globally competitive in, both in traditional exports such as tea, coffee, cut flowers and vegetables as well as emerging export crops such as avocado and macadamia nuts. Coffee production has fallen to below 40,000MT from a peak of 130,000MT, against an estimated potential of 200,000MT, which translates to a potential increase in coffee export earnings five-fold. We have several export crops that have collapsed, notably pyrethrum, cashew nuts and bixa. Kenya was once the world’s leading producer of pyrethrum, with over 90 per cent of world market share.

Jobs: Agriculture has the highest employment multiplier effect i.e., agricultural growth creates more jobs in other sectors than any other sector, owing to its strong forward and backward linkages to other sectors of the economy. Research conducted by Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) shows that four of the five value chains with the highest job creating impact are agricultural. The are livestock (cattle, sheep and goats), hotels and restaurants, poultry, vegetables and rice.

Incomes: As noted, two thirds of Kenyans derive all or part of their incomes from agriculture. Thus agriculture-led growth will put more money in people’s pockets directly than any other sector. This also means that agricultural incomes have the highest income multiplier effect, that is, when farmers have money, they buy consumer goods and services from other sectors. Moreover, given the large share of food in household expenditures, savings on food costs have a very large multiplier effect on other sectors. A 10 per cent reduction in cost of food for a middle class household, with a monthly food budget of Sh20,000, translates to a saving of Sh24,000 a year. Nationally, the food expenditure of Sh3 trillion translates to a saving of Sh300 billion that households will spend on other goods and services, equivalent to an economic stimulus of 10 per cent of the budget, or 2.5 per cent of GDP.

Ending poverty: Extreme poverty and vulnerability is also an agricultural phenomenon. An estimated two million households, one in six, are food poor. That means they are unable to meet the body’s food requirements every day. The vast majority of these are farmers. They have land but lack the resources to raise productivity to meet their subsistence needs. Kenya Kwanza believes that support to farmers to raise productivity would not only enable them to feed themselves, but also generate a surplus that contributes to national food security and the economy.

Industrialisation: Our manufacturing sector is largely agriculture-based, with food processing and beverage manufacturing contributing 40 per cent and 48 per cent of manufacturing employment and GDP respectively. When non-food agro-processing is added, agro-processing becomes more than half of the manufacturing sector. Moreover, the manufacturing that is not agro-based is highly dependent on imported raw materials such as metals, chemicals and plastics. As noted, agriculture is our most globally competitive sector. Adding value to our agricultural exports is a more viable route to grow our manufactured exports than industries that are heavily dependent on both imported machinery and raw materials, and which our only value addition is labour. 

The Kenya Kwanza Commitment

  • Provide adequate affordable working capital to farmers through well-managed farmer organisations
  • Deploy modern agricultural risk management instruments that ensure farming is profitable and income is predictable, such as was provided for scheduled crops by the Guaranteed Minimum Returns (GMR) Scheme in the 1970s. These instruments include crop and livestock insurance schemes, commodity market instruments such as forward contracts, futures contracts and price stabilisation schemes
  • Transform two million poor farmers from food deficit to surplus producers through input finance and intensive agricultural extension support, with a target to generate a minimum productivity target of Sh50,000 revenue an acre;
  • Raise productivity of key value food chains and other value chains (maize 8 -15 bags an acre, dairy 2.5kg- 7.5kg a cow a day, beef carcass weight from 110kg - 150kg); • Reduce dependence on basic food imports by 30 per cent (domestic oil crops production from 5 per cent to 25 per cent, rice from 18 per cent to 40 per cent);
  • Revamp underperforming and collapsed export crops while expanding emerging ones (coffee, cashew nuts, pyrethrum, avocado, macadamia nuts); • Boost tea value chain (blending & branding). Financial Commitment Sh250 billion in FY2023 - FY2027 1