Budgets for What? A Public Finance Perspective on Social Protection In Kenya

Analysis done by International Budget Partnership Kenya over the years shows lasting challenges in social protection budgeting, including the fragmentation of programmes, lack of congruence between financial and non-financial information and poorly disaggregated data on beneficiaries. These continue to hinder evidence-based stakeholder engagement with duty bearers on the financing of social protection and the implementation of the various programmes.

To understand these challenges, this paper seeks to explore social protection in Kenya from a public finance perspective, highlighting the gaps in fiscal policy and practice to develop insights for the public and practitioners within the social protection sector. Although not exhaustive, the paper further aims to contribute to the growing literature around the intersection of public finance management and service delivery in Kenya. Finally, the findings of this paper will inform the development of a budget guide for use by practitioners within the social protection sector and the wider public to understand and engage with budget decisions and processes in Kenya.

The paper is structured in five main sections. An initial section examines the available literature on social protection and social protection budgeting in Kenya and highlights the methodology used in the development of this paper. Section 1 explores the legal definition of social protection in Kenya and the larger legal and policy framework through which social protection is publicly provided. Section 2 looks at the scope of social protection in practice, providing a detailed analysis of social protection budgets in four key sectors. Section 3 highlights the place of public participation in social protection budgeting. Finally, section 4 pays attention to the key gaps in the financing of social protection in Kenya and potential fixes.


Budgets for What? A Public Finance Perspective on Social Protection In Kenya

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Cuba Houghton

Program Support, Research and Communications, IBP Kenya

Cuba Houghton joined the International Budget Partnership (IBP) in February 2023 and is based in Nairobi, Kenya. He supports IBP Kenya’s research and communication work.

Prior to joining IBP Kenya, Cuba was an intern at the Social Policy Initiative, South Africa. He engaged with the loal media, state and nonstate actors, presenting the latest research on the feasibility of a Basic Income Grant (BIG) in South Africa. Aside from his voluntary work, he writes actively on public finance, economics, and philosophy.

Cuba is an Economist with a bachelor’s degree in Economics, Politics and Philosophy from University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

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