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World Bank approves new development strategy to help Kenya boost economic growth

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By JK Mwangi

The World Bank Group today endorsed a new five year development strategy to help Kenya succeed in its efforts to boost economic growth sustainably.Social and economic inequality has widened over the yearsSocial and economic inequality has widened over the years

The strategy will also help the country create more jobs for young people, build vital infrastructure, and devolve power to regional communities in order to end extreme poverty and share prosperity among all Kenyans.

The new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Kenya, endorsed by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors Thursday, anticipates delivering over $4 billion of financing in the next five years to support Kenya to realize its potential to become one of Africa’s enduring economic powers by removing the obstacles to more growth and significantly less poverty.

The joint strategy by the Bank, IFC and MIGA is part of a sustained effort to help fulfill Kenya’s ambitions of becoming a modern economy in which growing prosperity is shared across all communities.

This is a special time in Kenya, especially as the government moves to decentralize more power and public services to local communities,” said Diariétou Gaye, World Bank Country Director for Kenya.

“We have a unique opportunity to help Kenya create jobs, build infrastructure, and to lift millions of its citizens out of poverty over the long term and ensure that they share in the country’s growing prosperity.”

While Kenya has grown on average at 4.6 per cent annually over the last decade, poverty and inequality have fallen less dramatically which has prevented many Kenyans from sharing in the benefits of the country’s strong economic performance.

Inequality remains high in terms of opportunities and outcomes between men and women, Kenya’s growing youth population, and people living in remote, underdeveloped regions of the country.

The Bank Group’s new strategy is aligned with the government’s Vision 2030 priorities, which calls for rapid, sustained growth as the key driver in reducing poverty and creating opportunity for all.

The Bank is supporting these priorities through its development investments in more and better quality infrastructure, improved health, social protection, rural development, and other areas that can increase economic opportunities while lowering inequality.

The Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation will provide investments and advisory services to help expand access to finance, promote more competitive businesses and improve the investment climate, while supporting agribusiness and infrastructure, as well as other important economic sectors.

Inclusive growth requires job creation through a dynamic private sector,” said Oumar Seydi, IFC’s Director for Eastern and Southern Africa. “We aim to expand our support for strong businesses in an increasingly competitive economy.”

The Bank, IFC, and MIGA are committed to leveraging private resources for innovative financing for infrastructure including public-private partnerships in energy, water and transport.

MIGA will continue to scale up its support in the energy sector, and will help mobilize sustainable private investments that support job creation,” said Michel Wormser, MIGA Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

The strategy focuses on three areas, competitiveness and sustainability; protection and potential; and, building consistency and equity; underpinned by  the connecting platform of  good governance —to improve accountability and ensure that resources at national and county levels are spent properly and get to those for whom they are intended. .

The CPS 2014-2018 was prepared in close consultation with the Kenyan Government, and benefitted from substantial input from an extensive consultations process with the national and county governments, the private sector and civil society organizations in several counties across the country.



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