The Kenya Forum | Kenya's Failure To Reduce Poverty Threat To Economy - The Kenya Forum

February 20, 2015


Kenya ranks sixth among top 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa with large populations living in extreme poverty.

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Kenya’s Failure To Reduce Poverty Threat To Economy

Kenya will need to take radical measures to reduce the high levels of poverty, which is posing a big threat to the country’s economic success.

According to a study; Reasonable Goals For Reducing Poverty In Africa-Targets For Post 2015 MDGs And Agenda 2063 by the Institute Of Security Studies, Kenya ranks sixth among top 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa with large populations living in extreme poverty.

The study observes that the eradication of extreme poverty is a key component in the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals process and maintains that but “Kenya, like most African states, is not meeting the poverty reduction targets set out in the current Millennium Development Goals (MDG) that are up for discussion in New York later in 2015” and not unless Kenya takes drastic measures to address the current situation, there will be no progress made by the vision 2030 timeline.

‘Missing the targets means the growth forecasts are wrong, planning is unrealistic, Africa once again loses credibility and there is a destabilizing effect across the continent,’ said Jakkie Cilliers, ISS executive director and head of its African Futures Project.

High population growth, mismanagement of resources and setting of short term goals by politicians to win elections were named as the key factors that were contribution to the slow progress in eliminating poverty.

Kenya’s population is projected to increase from its current 46 million in 2015 to 65 million by 2030 and 100 million by 2063.


Cilliers also cites that current targets for poverty reduction in Africa are not realistic and calls for a reduction for a revised goal of reducing extreme poverty in Africa to below 15% by 2030, and to below 4% after 2045.

‘We need the African Union to set realistic national targets based on individual countries’ circumstances as part of its Agenda 2063 vision; and which are sufficiently short-term to hold leaders and governments to account while they are still alive and still in power.’


The study also observes that although there has been notable growth in Kenya, it has not benefitted the poor but instead it has increased the wealth gap. According to the study, reducing inequality will boost the impact of economic growth on the reduction of poverty. This can be done by focusing on rural development, which has been sidelined for a long time in favour of urban development.


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