Kenya is the economic engine and key driver of stability in East Africa. Its strong private sector, infrastructure, and financial services contribute significantly to growth in the region. Kenya's diplomatic and peacekeeping efforts also reinforce its role as a regional stabilizer.

However, the country faces significant development challenges, such as cross-border insecurity, severe income inequalities, frequent droughts, and youth unemployment. The fallout from the disputed 2007 elections was devastating. Post-election violence had a particularly high impact on the educational system, as schools were destroyed or turned into camps for internally displaced persons. Students and teachers were themselves displaced, and many lost weeks or months of classes.

Following a power-sharing agreement brokered in 2008 that helped to end the crisis, Kenya has since embarked on an ambitious reform agenda. Most notably, a new constitution was passed in 2010 that promises to devolve power to new county governments and reform Kenya's legal and political institutions. Kenya's ability to achieve lasting prosperity depends on the country's commitment to improving governance and achieving the promise of its constitution. With Kenya's strong civil society and independent media, the country has great potential for progress. The country's vibrant private sector and growing middle class can also help to drive economic growth.

Kenya ranks 145 out of 187 countries in the United Nations Development Programme's 2012 Human Development Index. Although one out of five Kenyans is living on less than US$1.25 per day, the country has made significant progress toward universal primary education and gender parity in education.

Find out what Canada is doing to support development in Kenya.

Thematic Focus

Canada's international development program in Kenya is closely aligned with Kenya's long-term national planning strategy, officially known as Kenya Vision 2030.

The goal of Canada's program is to help Kenya secure a future for children and youth by improving primary education and strengthen democratic governance by improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the public sector.

Children and youth

Canada continues to improve the quality of education in Kenya by working with the Government of Kenya to train quality teachers and make schools child-friendly learning environments in which children—especially girls—feel safe and secure, healthy, and well nourished. Canada strives to work in the most disadvantaged areas of the country, where dropout rates are the highest, and supports initiatives that offer innovative solutions for the most marginalized communities, such as accelerated learning for refugee children and mobile schools for nomadic children.

Key anticipated results

  • Primary school enrolment rates will increase from 92.5 percent to 98 percent.
  • Primary school completion rates will improve from 79.5 percent in 2008 to 90 percent in 2015.

Democratic governance

Canada supports public sector accountability and citizens' engagement to improve the delivery of public services to Kenyans. By working with public institutions and grass-roots/civil society organizations, Canada is supporting good governance practices in areas such as basic education, women's political participation, conflict prevention, electoral systems, public financial management, and community participation.

Democratic governance is one of the Government of Canada's priority themes for international assistance.

Key anticipated results

  • At least 70 percent of all the eligible 19 million voters in Kenya will be educated about the new constitution and their rights as citizens.
  • Public services are more customer-focused as government departments adopt better performance monitoring and evaluation.

Progress on Aid Effectiveness

Kenya adheres to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (PDF, 317 KB, 23 pages). There has been considerable progress in implementing aid effectiveness principles, particularly donor harmonization through the Kenya Joint Assistance Strategy 2007–2012, which was signed by 17 bilateral donors, including Canada, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and the United Nations. This strategy also aligns with the Government of Kenya's Vision 2030, indicating local ownership.



Achievements 2012-2013

Children and youth

  • Provided technical assistance to the Ministry of Education to align its entire education policy framework to Kenya’s new Constitution.
  • In partnership with the Ministry of Education, held community consultations in the Dadaab Refugee Camps and host pastoralist communities to develop appropriate solutions for the education of out of school children, young mothers and nomadic children.

Public Sector Accountability

  • Helped the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission successfully manage the 2013 elections, including through support for the enactment of five major pieces of legislation, and the effective resolution of electoral complaints.
  • Promoted civil society participation in establishing the criteria on revenue distribution between the national and county governments, as part of the implementation of a new decentralized governance structure.

Achievements 2011-2012

Children and youth

  • Contributed, along with other donors, to improving the rate of students going from primary to secondary school from 59.6 percent in 2007 to 72.5 percent in 2011
  • Provided Canadian technical assistance to Kenya's Ministry of Education in developing its Taskforce Report on Education, leading to a new legal and policy framework and strategy for the entire sector

Democratic governance

  • Helped train nearly 8,200 national and local government officials since 2004 on performance agreements so that public service delivery is more focused on clear results for Kenyans
  • Increased citizens' participation by supporting Kenyan civil society's contribution to the development of at least five key legal bills on elections, teachers, political parties, and public appointments

Although Canada does not have direct programming in MNCH in Kenya Canada has improved the health of women and children by working with Canadian and global partners. See all maternal, newborn and child health projects in Kenya.

Visit the Canada delivers results for the world’s women and children page for more information.

2014-2015 international assistance disbursements to Kenya (in millions of dollars)

Global Affairs Canada44.79
Other departments and sources1.9