With a new constitution signed and steady economic performance this year, Kenya is making great strides toward political reform. However, there is still much work to be done in implementing the new constitution and improving governance to ensure their standing in the world community. On October 12, the Africa Growth Initiative (AGI) at Brookings hosted Kenya’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Uhuru Kenyatta to discuss political and economic growth trajectories for the country. Daniel Kaufmann, senior fellow in the Global Economy and Development program at Brookings, moderated the discussion.
In his opening remarks, Minister Kenyatta explained that up until December 2007, Kenya had experienced impressive growth of about 7 percent. Subsequently, the government revenue grew from Ksh 200 billion in 2002 to Ksh 600 billion in 2007. Prior to 2007, Kenya was on track to becoming a middle-income country. However, the post-election crisis, which lasted nearly four months, derailed this progress. In response, the Kenyan government built a coalition government compromised of the two main parties. By the second quarter of 2008, Kenya was beginning to rebound from the post-election crisis, displaying a resilience of the nation’s economy. Even with rising energy prices, the financial crisis and the worst drought period since independence, Kenyatta focused on Kenya’s great strides to overcome such hurdles. Kenyatta also announced that in 2010 the Kenyan economy is expected to grow nearly 5 percent.
Kenya’s goal has been to become a middle-income country. Though, the policy implemented for economic growth during the pre-election crisis period was based on the Economic Recovery Strategy that was launched in 2003. However, after the crisis, Kenya decided to adopt a more holistic approach in the Vision 2030, which has three specific pillars.