In a report released by the World Bank on Kenya’s poverty and equity assessment 2023, the country’s robust economic growth over the past decade has outperformed its Sub-Saharan Africa peers.
Kenya bounced back from the COVID-19 pandemic with a 7.6 % growth beating the Sub-Saharan Africa average growth.
According to the report, this growth is majorly credited to the services sector driving almost 70 per cent of the total increase in economic output in the country.
The report indicated that out of the 10 fastest-growing sectors from 2012 to 2021, all except construction were services.
Thousands of Kenyans turned up for 1,500 advertised jobs by the Kenya Association of Private Employment Agencies (KAPEA) on October 28, 2023.
“The services sector is increasingly becoming an engine of economic growth in Kenya. In the decade to 2021, services activity drove about 70 per cent of the total increase in economic output and, of the 10 fastest-growing sectors from 2012 to 2021, all except construction were services,” the report read in part.
Over the same period, the country successfully translated the growth of the economy into a reduction of poverty. The rate of poverty declined until the emergence of COVID-19.
“In 2019, almost one-third of Kenyans (33.6 per cent) were living below the national poverty line, a 13.1-percentage- point decline from 46.7 per cent in 2005/06 (Figure 1). This translated into a decline in the number of poor Individuals,” the report indicated.
The report further explained that Kenya’s reduction in poverty happened majorly between 2005/06 and 2015/16.
Between these years, the poverty rate declined by 10.5 per cent points from 46.7 to 36.1 per cent. At the same time, there was a robust Growth Domestic Product (GDP) per capita growth of 2.05 per cent.
Kenya, having the highest Human Capital Index (HCI) score in mainland Sub-Saharan Africa, has made noteworthy progress in human capital development and expanding access to basic services, and investments that are fundamental for inclusive growth.
The report states that the access to health care available in the country has resulted in significantly improved health outcomes and this has contributed to human capital achievements.
“For instance, the under-5 mortality rate in Kenya decreased from 74 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2008/09 to 41 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2022, significantly lower compared with its peers,” World Bank revealed.
The report further states that the growth in the human capital development in the country has also been a result of the continued reduction in the number of households with children who do not attend school as well as increased enrollment in secondary schools
“The proportion of households with a primary school-aged child not attending school declined from 17 per cent in 2005 to 5 per cent in 2021, thanks to the GoK’s efforts in the provision of free primary education,” the report read
Similarly, the report details improved access to basic services in the country with a reduced rural-urban gap, as well as the gap between the poor and rich having narrowed down.
As per the report, the share of households using improved water sources and improved sanitation has increased.
Access to electricity has also improved considerably in urban areas, although it remains highly limited in rural areas.
Photo of a Water Supply Tap in Meru County
Tana Water Supply