Kenya: How Equitable Was the Distribution of National Roads and Water Projects in 2016/17?

January 2017 | By John Kinuthia, IBP Kenya

Dissatisfaction with the way in which resources have been shared in Kenya has colored the country’s post-independence history and has been a key driver of legal and fiscal reform. However, while principles of equity have clearly informed these reforms, there remains little discussion of equity in regard to the massive funds that remain with the national government, which spends the largest share of revenue through its Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

One factor that has hampered discussions of equity in national government spending is the lack of disaggregated information about spending, especially regarding capital expenditure. However, in Kenya’s 2016/17 national budget, MDA development budgets were broken down to the individual project level, showing the distribution of development projects across the country in all MDAs.

This budget brief looks at the geographical distribution of capital projects in the State Department for Infrastructure and State Department for Water Services in Kenya’s 2016/17 budget. The Department for Infrastructure was selected because it is one of the biggest spenders of capital funds. In the case of the State Department for Water Services, while water and sanitation functions are devolved, a large portion of what is spent on water in Kenya is still spent by state corporations at the national level.

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Authors

John Kinuthia

Senior Program Officer, IBP Kenya

John is a Senior Program Officer at the International Budget Partnership Kenya (IBPK). He joined IBP in October 2012 just as Kenya’s ambitious devolution program was taking off. John leads IBPK’s research and analytical work in Kenya, and he is part of the team that works to promote budget transparency and to improve public engagement on how the government raises and spends public resources.

He has done extensive research on Kenya’s public finance system for evidence generation that IBP uses to provide technical support to civil society organizations and, in some cases, government agencies. John’s research focuses on equitable revenue sharing mechanisms, equity in government expenditure, social protection, budget credibility, public participation in budgets, sub-national budget transparency, among other areas. His role also includes supporting capacity building and the publication of guides and tools that IBPK uses to improve community engagement with national and sub-national government budgets. John also plays a role in coordinating IBP’s programmatic work in Kenya, including supporting fundraising and administrative tasks.

John holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), an MBA in Strategic Management from the Kenya Methodist University, and a professional award on Decentralization and Local Governance from SOAS University of London.

Before joining IBP, John worked with Twaweza East Africa as an Associate Analyst, where he helped to build the Kenya Budget Explorer, a centralized budget portal, to improve citizens’ access to budget information.  He is a big data enthusiast, a happy bee farmer, and a part-time historian.

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