How Do Kenyans Prioritize at the Sector Level? Comparing Public and Government Preferences

November 2016 | By Jason Lakin, Ph. D, IBP Kenya

In order to determine budget allocations for sectors such as health, education, and infrastructure, the Kenyan government is meant to consider the views of the general public. In reality, however, there has been relatively little discussion with the public about sector priorities. To get better a sense of public opinion, IBP Kenya sponsored a national survey asking citizens from across Kenya’s 47 counties what they thought the sector distribution of the national budget should be, and what they believed the actual allocation to be.

Four key points emerged from comparing the government’s current sector priorities with the public’s:

  1. The public wants less investment in the energy and infrastructure sector than the government.
  2. At the same time, the public wants higher spending on health and agriculture than the government has proposed.
  3. The public wants more spending on the economic and commercial affairs sector, and less in the governance and public administration sector.
  4. The public would also give less to education and more to security, environment, and water and social protection.

In this paper, we offer different perspectives on how to interpret these results. While more research is needed, we believe the survey results suggest the public does have concerns about the government’s priorities, and their preferences should be given weight in the decision-making process.



  • Attitudes of Kenyans to The National & County Budget Making Process: Comprehensive Survey Report
    In August 2016, IBP Kenya worked with Infotrak Research & Consulting, a Kenyan survey research firm, to carry out a national survey of Kenyan attitudes on issues related to the national and county budget process. Part of the survey focused on sectors and sector preferences to find out which sectors are most important to Kenyans and how much they know about sector spending. To gather empirical evidence about Kenyan views on principles of equity, the survey also included a set of simple scenarios about sharing resources and questions designed to trigger views of fairness indirectly.



ibp kenya comparing sector priorities public government 2016.pdf

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attitudes of kenyans to budget process infotrak ibp survey report 2016.pdf

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