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 , 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.

DFID Programme

DFID Kenya’s key strategic priorities in the Operational Plan 2014 are to:

  • strengthen democracy through improving the capacity and accountability of national and local government;
  • promote stability and security;
  • promote broad based sustainable economic development and job creation through improving the investment climate, market development, trade and access to finance;
  • ensure that growth is inclusive and improves the lives of women and girls, the extreme poor living in Kenya’s Arid and Semi-Arid Lands, and refugees from neighbouring countries; and
  • improve service delivery by supporting greater choice and accountability, innovative approaches to private sector provision of services and reduced vulnerability.

World Bank Doing 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. 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. However Kenya is flagged in Doing Business 2017 as the third most improving countries in the world in 2016/17, and the ranking in DB had improved to 92.