Kenya has enacted an ambitious set of reforms to provide the public with opportunities to participate in how the country is governed, including how public finances are managed to deliver services and foster development. Central to these reforms is a new budget process which can usefully be conceived as a conversation between multiple stakeholders – including the wider public – designed to ensure public resources are used effectively.
At the county level, a crucial tool for facilitating this conversation is the establishment of County Budget and Economic Forums (CBEFs). These are meant to have been operationalized in each and every county to serve as the primary institution for ensuring public participation in public finances. They are integral to the Kenyan government’s strategy to improve accountability and public participation at the county level.
Drawing on primary research into five counties in Kenya, this paper looks at how CBEFs are working and how they can be improved.