BERF Work in Kenya

DFID Kenya has been an important focus for BERF.  Following a scoping study early in 2016, it was proposed to undertake a public private dialogue in the creative economy, which has been completed, and an export strategy study, which is ongoing.  Some other studies which were identified in the scoping study were not subsequently implemented, including the industrialisation strategy which the government subsequently decided not to pursue. Kenya was a focus case study of the Youth Labour Markets research study, along side Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

BERF Kenya Projects

  1. BERF Youth Labour Markets Research Sept 2017
  2. Kenya – Business Environment Diagnostic and Export Strategy May 2017
  3. Kenya Business Environment Reform Diagnostic for the Creative Economy March 2017
  4. Kenya Investment Climate Reform Scoping Study May 2016



Kenya , population of over 44 million, has a relatively high rate of inequality and poverty.  According to the national poverty line the poverty rate was around 45% in 2005, but there has been rapid economic growth since around 2003 (of 5 or 6% per year), leading to rapid increases in per capita incomes.

Kenya’s World Bank Doing Business indicator position fell 31 places – to 109 – between 2008 and 2012, the sharpest drop in East Africa. This was largely due to political and climatic shocks, their subsequent impact on tourism, and weak competitiveness. Kenya’s development is also impaired by persistently high levels of corruption and impunity in both government and business.

Kenya is the largest and most diversified economy in East Africa and has substantial capacity for economic growth. However, it is one of the few DFID countries where the number of poor people is thought to be rising.

DFID Kenya Strategy

Economic development: DFID will help Kenya create good quality jobs and stimulate investment through our work on urbanisation and improving the business environment. DFID will reduce the costs of trade in Kenya and the region, helping businesses reach a market of over 200 million people, creating jobs and economic opportunities and contributing to long-term prosperity and security.

Basic services and building resilience to crises: DFID  will help the government invest in essential health services to stop young women dying in pregnancy and child birth, and make sure 450,000 women and girls can take control of decisions about when they have children and how many. DFID will help over 1 million people cope with drought and conflict, and improve the government’s ability to respond to humanitarian crises when they happen. DFID will work with partners to find long-term solutions for refugees in Kenya who have fled their homes in neighbouring countries.

Building stability and institutions: The will use its diplomatic and development expertise and influence to improve government systems and accountability, tackle corruption and reduce conflict and the risks of radicalisation. The UK will continue to build the systems that will ensure the government can take on financing and management of poverty reduction programmes.

World Bank Doing Business

In 2018 the upward trend in the business environment continued as Kenya reached a rank of 80.  The distance to frontier score of 65.15 was also significantly above the level of 2017 (62.56).  Kenya made progress on a wide range of reforms in the past year. Kenya was flagged in Doing Business 2017 as the third most improving countries in the world in 2016/17.