The Evolution of Kenya’s Devolution

What's working well; What could work better (World Bank Report)

Kenya’s devolution reforms started in earnest in March 2013, shifting power for a range of public functions to 47 elected County Governments. In order to ensure a successful implementation of the reforms, it is critical to reflect on what elements of the transition are progressing well and which ones are not, and areas which need to be strengthened so as to achieve better results.

The World Bank Note draws attention to areas in which challenges are being experienced during the transition period. A major concern is the rapid pace with which devolution is being implemented —even faster than was originally envisaged in the constitution. This rapid pace, combined with the enormous scale of administrative and political transformation, has exposed key sectors to service disruptions. Other challenges highlighted in the Note include: potential fiscal risks arising from a mismatch between funding and service delivery obligations at both levels of government; the vulnerable funding of urban areas; personnel management transition issues; and, weak engagement of citizens by County Governments.

This note further includes some proposals on how these challenges might be addressed moving forward, although given Kenya’s broader devolution context, there will be no quick fixes.

Read the full report.