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The 6th Annual Devolution Conference held under the theme “Deliver. Transform. Measure.: Remaining Accountable” organized by the Council of Governors in collaboration with other stakeholders’ including National Government Ministries, Agencies and Departments, Development Partners, Non-Governmental organizations and the Private Sector.

Prior to the 5th ADC, Devolution Conferences were held to discuss general/global successes, challenges and solutions in the implementation of the devolved structure in the Country. The Steering committee of the 5th ADC decided to change the conference modality and use a sector-based approach while at the same time retain the general/global perspective structure. These resulted to adoption of a four (4) sector breakaway sessions mirroring the Presidents Big Four (4) agenda together with a general cross cutting discussion in the conference. 


“Corruption is the single biggest obstacle for a better Kenya. There is more energy to slay corruption and impunity. There will be wealth recovery from the corrupt individuals. There will be maximum support to all state agencies fighting corruption. We call upon Judiciary to do its part in fighting corruption. We call upon all Governors to join in zeal to fight corruption”.  H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta.


  • Corruption fight will be led by institutions.
  • Prudent utilization of finances. There will be need for a national summit discussion on how invest more resources towards development and reduce wage bill and recurrent expenditure.
  • Believe that devolution is working, and this can be enhanced for shared prosperity by Kenyans.

NIC Hailey, UK High Commissioner who spoke on behalf of the Development partners supporting devolution emphasized the need to make corruption painful.  Devolution needs to move the 4 million Kenyans below poverty line out of poverty, especially women, youth and PWDs.

The County Assemblies (CAs) need stronger autonomy especially in controlling their own budget, budget approval process at OCOB needs to be automated, faster release of cash from National Treasury to counties, improvement of financial capacity of CAs, staff capacity of Cas enhancement, and the commitment of Cas to support big 4. The Constitution amendment needs to enhance devolution (Hon Osoi-Chair of CAF).

The Senate is committed to play its legislative and oversight role to enhance devolution. The Concept of devolution is working, but it can improve. Corruption fight needs momentum and senate will play its role. The senate will play its legislative role e.g. senate is discussing Bill to target revenue to wards. The Senate will discuss Constitution amendment in lens of 45% of money to counties. Opposition is not dead, Kenyans getting together as a nation. Big 4 needs to succeed. The BBI needs to succeed. Debt issue is a concern. (Hon James Orengo, Minority Leader Senate).

Census critical for data for devolution planning, revenue allocation formula to be reviewed with the data. There is need to update service delivery policy e.g. for health/agriculture. The oversight role for senate to be enhanced with some fund for senators to undertake objective oversight. Importance of BBI, however the handshake needs to be inclusive.

County accounts committees are very important for accountability and fight of corruption. Independent political institutions need to be left free to do their job especially in fighting corruption (Hon Murkomen, Senate Majority Leader).

Agriculture value chains need to be enhanced through technology, financial platforms and value addition to create jobs and enhance interest of youth in agriculture.

The counties are committed to supporting the big 4 agenda, however the role of the counties in implementation of the big 4 still needs to be clarified along three issues, level of involvement of counties, policy framework definition and the need to enhance understanding of the big 4 by counties (Hon Oparanya-Chair of CoG).

Intergovernmental relations have improved, and this needs to be enhanced e.g. through anchoring CoG in law, sector coordination frameworks, and the policy around local content being developed.

The Children’s communique mainly asked the need for devolution to be inclusive of children needs and rights e.g. safe environments for play and rest, and a competency-based education curriculum that includes the needs of children with disability.

Devolution is increasingly enabling inclusion of women, girls, youth and PWDs. The women leadership curricula had reached over 400 women leaders at counties, AGPO was enhancing women access to markets, but there is still much more to be done.

Financial autonomy of county assemblies will be actualized by the formation of CAF in law and thereby increase efficiency in implementation of programmes and service delivery to Wananchi. Hon. Johnson Soi, Chair of County Assembly Forum (CAF) and speaker Kajiado County.

The challenges facing counties are perennial – corruption, the bulk of resources being spent on recurrent expenditure including the huge wage bills. Kenya needs to go through the process of transformation – akin to the eagle, which sheds its beak, talons and feathers through a very painful process in order to stay alive. Kenya needs to go through a similar process to fight the corruption to stay on the path of development. Hon. Eugene Wamalwa, Cabinet Secretary Devolution.


“Women and girls are disproportionately affected by health-related concerns, first as caregivers to their families and secondly as users of medical services and commodities.” Hon.  Margaret Kamar – Senator, Uasin Gichu

A bottom up approach in health services delivery and in the management of public health has proven to be effective in a number of counties including Kisumu, Nyeri and Isiolo.  The Community health volunteers are particularly effective in dealing with preventive and promotive health care and are also able to obtain critical household level data which can then be fed into the mainstream health management systems.

Maternal and child health indicators show a glaring gap in the health sector.  For Isiolo County, 790 women die at child birth out of every 100,000 women.  154 infants die out of every 1000 children born in the county.

UHC is working effectively in a most counties and there is increased coordination and partnership between the counties and national government. Delivery of medical commodities including drugs is more synchronized as hospitals are now drawing directly from KEMSA, reducing backlog and delays previously experienced, that compromised on delivery of medical services to citizens.

The National Government is undertaking a more wholistic approve in delivering UHC.  There is more emphasis by the national government on preventive and promotive health care, which focuses on encouraging healthy lifestyle, immunization and public health related issues such as ensuring our environment is safe and free from disease causing agents. CS. Cecily Kariuki

Effective delivery of UHC also requires sustainable infrastructure which includes good roads and road networks, provision of ambulances, etc.


“Some of the counties are too tiny to be sustainable. Counties could do better if grouped into bigger entities. Regional Economic blocks needs to be formalized in law. Formalization of regionalism does not mean dismantling counties as they ae today…Women folk must be given responsibility to lead. Women have capabilities. Women must be given equal opportunity” Hon Raila Amollo Odinga.


Devolution is the best thing that Kenyans ever gave themselves since independence and there needs to be close and cordial relationship between national and county governments.

Devolution is changing lives of Kenyans and it has done what conventional governance didn’t do in 50 years hence Kenyans need to be bold and advocate for change. Devolution is here to stay with Kenya. Question is how devolved units will be structured in future and what will be the most sustainable structure of devolution?

Devolved units need to develop peer review mechanism, performance reporting and independent assessment, emulate success stories and correct one another.

There is need for clearer framework for revenue for the various functions. The functions need to define the revenue and not vice versa.

There is need for clearer framework for role of counties in big 4. The big 4 are devolved functions. Counties need to take lead in implementation. Resources need to be devolved for counties to implement big 4.

Revenue collection: There is need to strengthen revenue collection by counties and to think out of box on revenue collection.

Leaders must take responsibility on corruption and corruption issues should not be politicized but instead politicians should leave institutions to lead on corruption fight. The institutions established to fight corruption have to be strengthened and supported. Citizens participation are crucial in accountability.

Kenyans are keen to see results, and therefore accountability is crucial, and this is important in keeping the trust of Kenyans in devolution.

For Kenya to realize food security, we must find a way to increase water harvesting and storage capacity.

The constitutional change must strengthen devolution and must increase the resources to counties. The Senate needs to be strengthened. The issues of devolution must take center stage in referendum discussion.

As a country, all the stakeholders of devolution must work together to tackle issues of devolution.

The capacities of County Assemblies must be built, and their financial autonomy needs to be implemented to strengthen oversight.  Involvement of the county governments on agenda 4 will be crucial. A clear policy and guidelines on how counties will be involved will be crucial.


Key challenges on health matters in Kenya include numerous industrial relations especially strikes by medial fields workers. Negotiations, policy changes and reconciliatory efforts are ongoing to seek lasting solutions to these issues.

Counties are committed to address these issues and gave an example of Kisii county that invests 42% of its budget on health. Counties have agreed to make better the salaries for health workers.

Other Key measures agreed upon Include: Putting in place a pool of qualified medial staff in place that can be engaged immediately. Supply side is high given number of respondents to adverts;

  • Disciplinary proceedings will be followed up and actioned
  • Put in place a futuristic model of out sourcing medical personnel.
  • Natural attrition of nurses will now be managed through contractual recruitments terms
  • Policies and Laws on determination of essential services detailing their regulations and rules are being developed
  • Sharing of information- to be improved
  • Sharing of personnel horizontally across counties and vertically with national government as a sustainable model and improves sharing and learning from each other
  • Tele medicine as an opportunity
  • Training and capacity building key- Including that of doctors- Building specialties in field of medicine- Example of Kisii county which is now training 46 doctors. There is thus need to reserve funds for Capacity building in the counties.
  • Mentorship and performance enhancing measures
  • PFM training, M&E, Public participation, environmental and safety life guards on going in counties are other focus areas. Staff induction also important
  • Management of recurrent budget-Capacity assessment and utilization programme ongoing with national Government

Some of the Challenges facing the implementation of big Four include:

  • Delivery of National Government project in silos-
  • Corruption and loss of funds
  • Public participation
  • Optimal utilization of resources- County Commissioner, directors all with vehicles- can there be better utilization of resources?
  • Weak performance management systems
  • Inaccurate reporting- Thus the Executive order 1 of 2019 was enacted to ensure that there is a strong coordination committee. The is also an emphasis on a coordination matrix through bottom up approach
  • Value in liaison of County Governments and National Governments—Inputs of county Governments makes implementation easy

On strategies for implementation of big four, it was emphasized that only Manufacturing is a national government function, but the other three are county based as they are devolved. Affordable housing, UHC, Food security, thus strategy should be to create synergy between the two governments. There are varied and dynamic strategies to implement based on the county contexts and environments.

Intergovernmental relations: IBEC now facilitates an assets report per county- e.g. on land it is reported that over 60,000 land assets have been identified, across the country, meaning that the counties can utilize these assets for wealth creation at their level.

Analysis, unbundling and transfer of functions- Some ministries such as agriculture, and functions such as meat inspection, betting and control, libraries, museums already complete. This is an avenue for counties to further generate revenue

Enabling policies and registrations e.g. on cooperatives, Alternative Dispute resolutions (ADR), and also resolving disputes between national and devolved Government away from courts. This is a measure of success as counties avoid high costs of litigation between national government and County Governments

Legal framework for holistic county pensions framework to be put in place. Currently, they use existing systems for previous local authorities-, but there is also the benefits and retirement funds

There was a rush for legal framework before an overarching policy was put in place-This created confusion on mandates of N/C roles. It is imperative for a policy to be put in place first, and ensure that it is an equitable one, that covers all civil servants and is harmonized for all.

Ministry of devolution interfaces between the two levels of Government

Strengthened role of intergovernmental sector forums- now developing guidelines for these forums

The ministry supports intergovernmental mechanisms-Supported some counties to implement big four in 15 counties-900 million disbursed

Coordination is key for the 3 institutions which should be strengthened at the levels, National, County and Ministry of Devolution

There should be support to counties to build capacities on planning especially around CIDP, review policies especially on the regional economic blocks-how counties will build synergies.

Technology as an enabler and should be considered a basic infrastructure, as it provides us with information for empowerment, knowledge, and making decisions based on data.

However, there is loss of opportunities as we do not protect our infrastructure and essentially leading to huge business loses. Compensation is thus needed for loss of technology.

ICT key for access to information-Laws should be in place to support to County Governments and National on ICT protection, as Kenya is growing well in technology. ICT-facilitates a lot of data collection on the big 4.

Examples of ICT Use:

In manufacturing- one can track data on goods being shipped in-Run manufacturing that can be marketable

Agriculture – we have systems that can tell us when its best to plant, what fertilizers should we use for what and when best to apply? Info can be sent to farmers via phone on Short Message Service (SMS) (Coordinate and communicate on what areas have what products etc. and can better facilitate access to markets) e.g. some areas milk is thrown away, yet others have none- Utilization to utilize everything- Simple technologies- buy and plug in mechanisms.

Affordable Housing- Government to put in sincere investments in land management system that captures all land owned by Government and individuals and transfers updated at county level. Enhances better land management.

Details on where do we get building materials from? Why are we important e.g. cement? It can help hold Government accountable.

Health- Capacity building can be eased out using technology- e.g. the managing illness and service easily accessible- ICT tools and software’s makes things possible.

Accountability only possible of you have integrated management information systems.

Making Kenya’s Agriculture Count

The “Counties that Count” model is based on a model developed for Zambia and will lead Kenya into the “data revolution in Agriculture”. The systems has capacity to identify the gap in growing population vs food production, as currently we have high costs of production versus very low yields. Yet with the right inputs and technologies, yields can increase significantly.

The system is developed to ensure farmer registration by extension workers and information capture on what they grow, land size and farmers bios- then vouchers for subsidy for procurement of inputs specific to area (inputs and variety), then mechanization, credit management for farmers. This tracks farms performance and is linked to banks for credit. There is then the module on food security information. E.g. inform on what’s likely to happen and what to do and finally and extension module on advice to farmers and what to plant, when and where. The county extension officers very key for this to work and at national level analysts for data on service providers- this system can transform Agriculture in Kenya.

Therefore this 4th revolution is data driven- ICT led by enabling decisions in agriculture and others—data to what you are producing, delivering, transforming, and be measured

Finally, there was the launch of the “Counties that Count”. Count what they do and why, helps them know population, money they have and use, creates transparency and minimizes corruption, while enabling decisions making on investments.


“The principle to do the right thing should be entrenched in the minds of all Kenyans. Corruption stems from what comes out of the heart.” Archbishop Wabukala, Chairperson of Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC)

Governors are now increasingly taking a lead and keen interest in county audit processes undertaken by the Office of the Auditor General.  There has been some improvement in county accounting and recording which has eased audit processes, including timeliness in the generation of audit reports and subsequent response and implementation of recommendations. To this end, the Office of the Auditor General has reported that all the county reports (for both county executive and assemblies) have been signed for the financial year ending December 2018.

Perennial challenges in the utilization of IFMIS by counties continues to hamper the work of counties. ICT infrastructure needs to be strengthened to deal with the connectivity difficulties that hamper full application of IFMIS. 

The centralized nature of IFMIS was cited as hampering devolution as the system still operates in a unitary fashion that was applicable before the promulgation of the Constitution in 2010 that created a devolved system of governance in Kenya. A suggestion was made to have two systems that will support solely the national government and another that supports counties, with an interface mechanism between the two systems.

Some counties continue to face compliance issues particularly in keeping their books of accounts which then leads to various audit queries.

The work of the Senate in oversighting counties is adding value and critical in ensuring that leaders are held accountable and resources meant for Wanjiku trickle down efficiently. As at the year ending December 2018, two counties have received unqualified reports; 30 have received relatively good reports with a few audit recommendations; 12 have received adverse reports; and red flags have been raised for 3 counties.

It was reported that some counties consider the creation of county audit committees as ‘optional.’  CRA regulations stipulate that funding to counties will be affected if functional audit committees are in place, amongst other regulations.  There is need for independence of the county audit committees including appointments to ensure they remain effective and transparent in exercising their mandate.

The Senate oversight committees should deal with matters of policy such as wage bills, county resource allocation review, etc.  Currently, audit queries that can be addressed at the local level are being brought before the House committee, which then limits the time that would be spent on critical aspects that relate to legislation and its applicability as far as accountability is concerned.

There is a marked increase in public awareness on corruption. Citizens are now beginning to appreciate the cost of corruption to the nation and to their lives.

EACC is now engaging a multi-agency approach to investigating cases brought before the commission.  A multi-agency task force has been constituted to deal with economic crimes which include DPP, DCI, EACC, Office of the Auditor General, Office of the Attorney General, Asset Recovery Agency and KRA (where tax issues apply).  This approach ensures that cases are investigated comprehensively and further concretizes cases that are brought before a Court of Law for prosecution.

The Commission on the Administration of Justice is working on the operationalizing of the Access to information Act and is working closely with the Ministry of Information and county Governments, particularly in public sensitization efforts through outreach programmes.

Social Accountability still continues to be treated with suspicion by both national and county officers and leaders. There is need to emphasize that Kenyans exercise their sovereignty through social accountability by holding their leaders accountable on issues relating to budget processes, public procurement, etc. Social accountability ensures that information is accessible to citizens in a timely fashion to ensure that they have effective engagement.  It was reported that some counties are now disaggregating data generated from IFMIS to make it more palatable to Kenyans for easier interpretation and interrogation, thereby increasing public participation.

There are instances where social accountability has been politicized for political ends – it is important for social accountability to be evidence based and geared towards ensuring that the principles of good governances are respected for the benefit of all Kenyans.

Political good will is essential to ensure that financial prudence is exercised and the requisite processes and regulations are followed to the letter.

An emphasis was made to ensure public officers’ step aside if they are found culpable for economic crimes to enable thorough investigations to be carried out and to avoid tampering with witness evidence. Strengthen application of the Public Officers Code of Conduct, and Public Officers Ethics Act to ensure that they do not engage in public procurement.


County governments – with exception of Nairobi City County – have organised themselves into seven (7) regional economic blocs as follows:

  • North Rift Economic Bloc (NOREB) – Formed in 2015 and comprised of eight (8) counties
  • Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) – Comprised of fourteen (14) counties
  • South Eastern Kenya Economic Bloc (SEKEB) – Formed in 2016 and comprised of three (3) counties
  • Central Kenya Economic Bloc (CEKEB – Formed in 2018 and comprised of ten (10) counties
  • Frontier Counties development Council (FCDC) – Formed in 2014 and comprised of ten (10) counties
  • Jumuia ya Kaunti za Pwani – Comprised of six (6) counties
  • Narok and Kajiado Economic Blocs (NAKAEB) – Formed in 2019

The concept of regional economic blocs is based on the saying – “if you want to go fast go alone, but if you want to go far go together.” Depending on economic interests, counties can belong to more than one regional economic bloc. The draft policy on regional economic blocs provides for a minimum of two and a maximum of fourteen per regional economic bloc.

The creation of regional blocs is anchored in Kenya’s legal framework i.e. Constitution of Kenya 189 (2), Intergovernmental relations act, and county governments act

The seven regional economic blocs were created with the aim to: –

  • Allow for comparative and competitive advantage (economies of scale) to trade internally, with other regions and internationally
  • Provides an avenue for integrated economic growth among counties. Majority of Kenya’s flagship projects shall leverage on the established regional economic blocs.
  • Allow for equitable sharing and conservation of natural resources

The ministry of Devolution and ASAL has prepared a draft policy to guide and regulate procedures and process for establishment, operationalisation, and preparation of a model of funding for joint programs of regional economic blocs. The ministry has also developed guidelines for creation of sector working groups for the regional economic blocs. Jumuia ya Kaunti za Pwani has already established its Gender Sector Working Group.

Some regional blocs e.g. FCDC has been incorporated into a limited liability company and are therefore beyond the purview of public oversight and accountability. As much as creation of regional blocks is anchored on other Kenyan legislations, there is need to come up with descriptive legislation to specifically guide and regulate establishment and operationalisation of regional economic blocs. A draft bill on regional economic blocs shall be presented soon to the senate. For the regional economic blocs to work, it is important to have the legislative framework in place before institutional frameworks are established.

Most of the regional economic blocs established during the first phase of devolution faced operationalisation challenges because county executives did not involve respective county legislative wings. This has since changes as county assemblies are critically involved in formulation of legislations for engagement hence the gains made thus far.

The issue of regional economic blocs should not be equated to establishment of regional governments. Formation of regional governments goes against principles of devolution as it is a form of recentralisation. This shall be against the wishes of 67% of Kenyans who voted for the constitution of Kenya 2010 which provided for established of county governments.

With the establishment of regional economic blocs, should existing Regional Development Authorities be disbanded? Is there duplication of roles? It is possible for the two entities to co-exist as they serve different purposes and draw resources from different sources.

Whereas Regional Development Authorities are resourced by national government, regional economic blocs are funded by member counties.

The analysis of 10 years into vision 2030 shows Kenya is on the track to achieve the vision 2030. The big 4 agenda contribute immensely to timely achievement of vision 20130

Caution should be taken in the establishment of these regional economic blocs lest they become tribal enclaves.

The national government is ready and willing to work with and support the established regional economic blocs. For instance, with support from the national government FCDC has recently received KES 120 Billion development grant from World Bank to support infrastructure, agriculture, water etc development in the region.


“There is a need to increase resource allocation to counties if the big 4 agenda has to be delivered”.  Dr. Jane Kiringai, CRA Chair.

“Counties allocated 30-61% on development expenditure, however they only spent 2% of the development expenditure. “Automation of release of exchequer resources to national government MDAs is complete and will go live end of March 2019, while automation of exchequer release of resources to counties will go live in July 2019”.  Agnes Odhiambo, Controller of Budget.

The Third-Generation formula is in final draft, based on the following criteria:

• Service delivery

• Balanced economic development

• Incentives for county government own revenue collection

• Incentives for county governments fiscal responsibility.

Based on the weighting, it means the counties will have resources to spend on services as below:

• Ksh. 1800 per capita on health services per annum

• Ksh. 77,000 per kilometer on roads per annum.

The greatest challenges to counties Public Finance include counties overstating their revenue collection, bureaucracy in procurement, challenges with IFIMIS and weak delivery units.


How have citizens been engaged in devolution? The governed must be part and parcel of the system.

Women have many on-going activities but without proper planning and funding, they cannot do much. i) sharing county information ii) facilitating civic education for women to utilize the money in the proper way iii) mobilizing women to attend purposefully and contribute in public participation forums and iv) visiting women groups and informing them about Maendeleo ya Wanawake are some of the strategies used to engage women at grassroots level.

The informal sector is not recognized by law therefore people resort to do business in land they do not own, on road sides, in slum areas and most of the time end up getting evicted. And their little assets seized. They also do not have access to any financing facilities. Informal businesses should be considered in CIDPs because they play a big role in the economy as well as protecting the rights of business people. The mobilization strategy for people to attend public participation forums is minimal so citizens do not attend because either they are alerted of the forums too late, the materials for critique are given at the wrong time so they do not have an opportunity to go through the documents and discrimination in participation during the forum. The county government must create adequate opportunity to engage all the citizens including those economically engaged in different sectors to input into development plans.

There was a sense of over-expectation of the youth when devolution was created. However, hope is slowly dwindling due to the progress so far in various counties. In Kwale, the youth have organized themselves in various outfits e.g. youth budget and oversight committees.

There should be and opportunity for community health volunteers who are mostly youth to transition to Community Health Workers as they are crucial in terms of delivering UHC at community level and so they can get some income while doing their work.

UHC: There is little to no awareness creation at community level for UHC hence why communities have not completely sold on to it, especially for women, there is a lack of health personnel in facilities, lack of medicines, no awareness creation among health workers who mostly do not understand UHC. Women are also not aware of the contents of the Big Four. Women are the ones that go to the markets, but they do not get proper services, poor WASH and little to no security. Survivors of sexual violence during elections cannot access health facilities and are still living with trauma.  The county governments should deploy community health workers to offer counselling services to these women in the community so that they reach the unreached.

Biashara Funds: need to build women’s financial literacy because majority of them do not understand what they are signing when trying to access loans and once they default on their payments, their assets are seized.


“Young people are the trustees of devolution the counties have to mine the creativity and innovation of young people to support devolution in terms of agriculture. Young people should also step out of their comfort zone, think big, start big.” Ronald Diang’a, Practicing Farmer and Head of KENARAVA group

The Ministry of Agriculture’s Agriculture Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy (ASTGS) main goal is to ensure agriculture in Kenya is commercialized while tackling issues of fertilizer subsides, food reserves e.g. maize which are major persistent national concerns.

Some of the key challenges highlighted faced by the Ministry of Agriculture are:

  • Alignment and coordination between national and counties is still not in-sync and needs to be enhanced. Unless to intergovernmental coordination is addressed, a lot of issues will fall through the cracks. Coordination between county and national governments is crucial especially since agriculture is the first sector that is highly devolved.
  • “Data is everywhere but none is available for decision making”.  A key challenge that was mentioned by majority of the panellists is the lack of data collection – UN Women’s work beginning on agriculture statistics is well aligned to assist in this.
  • Extension services and transfer of technology
  • Financing of programs
  • HR and capacity building
  • Politicizing of some crops e.g. maize and potatoes.

The CAADP commitment to commit at least 10% of public expenditure to enhancing investment finance in agriculture but no mechanism in place to track this

The Africa Agriculture Transformation Scorecard 2017 shows that Kenya is above the cut-off point and is on track to achieving the Malabo Declaration commitments, but improvements can be made in the following areas: 

  • Budget to agriculture is very low
  • Nutrition: 24% of population is still malnutrition
  • 64% of population need resilience building
  • Kenya to improve its ability to plan and implement agriculture activities.

Agriculture technologies: There is a major need to identify ways for farmers to adopt the right technologies for the different agro-ecological zones to increase productivity.

Extension: Extension is virtually non-existent and most of the extension officers are ageing. And innovative model using practicing entrepreneur farmers trained on general agriculture practices who then train their neighboring farmers is being piloted in Kiambu to strengthen and revive the extension systems.

Legislation: The Senate has recently passed the Irrigation Bill because for Kenya to be food secure, we have to change our methodologies, stop waiting for the rain to pour and focus on irrigation.

Good practices: include using the warehouse receipt system (where investors put up warehouses for storing maize and the counties can license these to the warehouse investors) to attract investors to invest at county level.


  • Kenya could develop mechanisms that would allow fast tracking of implementation while remaining accountable by taking advantage of national leadership and the devolved structure of agriculture and ensuring coordination between the two.
  • There is a vibrant private sector and they can be incentivized to invest by having the right policy environment for private sector engagement with the government.
  • Kenya to keep on top of its research capacity as it’s doing better than most countries in the region.

Experiences from a youth agri-prenuer:

  • Youth are interested in activities that have quick returns e.g. horticulture, bee-keeping and other agri-business, marketing and transformation.
  • Proposal writing, structural marketing and contract farming has enabled the youth farmer to supply meat to farmers choice. She also employs 8 youth to assist in the farm.

Sub-theme 2: From farm to plate – unlocking the pillars of agriculture transformation

A solution to food insecurity in Kenya is to unify the purchasing power of the urban market

Irrigation can accelerate the production of food in the country. The State Department of Irrigation is planning to put 700,000 acres of land around the country under irrigation from 3 aspects: construction of large-scale dams to store sufficient amounts of water; construction and rehabilitation of small dams; construction of household water pans.

Linking water and agriculture: There is a lot of water waste 70% of water Is used for agriculture production but 50% of this is wasted while 1.3 million tons of food globally is going to waste. The biggest challenge is access. Water has no boundaries. This is especially important in issues of water governance which is still underdeveloped in the country. Data is crucial in guiding water policy in the country but there is a huge data gap. Data is coming out strongly as a big issue in the agricultural sector.

From the private sector view, the main challenges are i) Water (irrigation schemes and poor soil health) and ii) roads (infrastructure for market access).

Youth perspective: from the experience of the female youth farmer from a semi-arid area of Kiambu county, they have formed a youth group called Village Based Advisors on Agriculture with the goal of eradicating food insecurity in their communities by brings together youth agriculturalists while at the same time solving the issue of lack of extension services. They use appropriate seeds for each location, train farmers on manure and fertilizer application and do monitoring of how the crops are doing. 200 youth are currently using a youth to youth model of extension in Kiambu. Such data is needed to demystify the notion that youth, more so young women, are not engaging in agriculture. Choice of the enterprise is important – for the youth, they tend to choose practices that would give quick gains e.g. selling 1-2-month-old chicks, selling of green maize.

Insurance: 95% of farmers do not have access to insurance and are vulnerable to negative risks of farming, meaning they invest just enough which they can afford to lose which affects the production. By bundling insurance with products that farmers buy (seeds, fertilizers and credit), the farmers then register insurance via mobile phones. The insurance is bundled with the bags of seeds and has technology that the insurer uses to monitor the amount of rainfall which they use to alert the farmer – an innovative approach to early weather warning systems – to avert the risk of drought losses.

From a data perspective, high yielding varieties are required to meet the market demand. Land, water and energy are the three big enablers for increasing agriculture productivity.

Knowledge and skills: In universities, there is a shift in how research and training is done including changing the standard way of training for agri-prenuers; establishment of incubators and application centres; opening up the extension field to have private extension service providers

Policy: policy process to accommodate both the county and national government. There is a need for targeted coordination, cooperation and consultations with all stakeholders from the relevant sectors.

Seed production and multiplication: This is a key issue as small-scale farmers do not participate in seed production especially in maize and potatoes due to limited capacities, poor seed varieties and adequate facilities. However, institutions like KALRO are engaging small scale farmers as out-growers. 

Production without utilization is meaningless – it is worrying that most of the focus has been on food production but very little on nutrition especially because malnutrition and cases of stunning among children is on the rise in the country.

Sub-theme 3: The 2019 Kiri-Agriculture Declaration: Walking the talk on agriculture transformation. Youth and Women in Agribusiness

1 million youth enter the job market every year, way more than jobs can be created. 

Challenges that women and youth face: they don’t own the land, agriculture is labour intensive, income is low, skills deficiency among women and youth, lack of finances and access to information and markets and drug and substance abuse among the youth.

Issues of cultural differences within the country especially for women with regards to their cultural roles affects their participation in agricultural enterprise. 

There are opportunities for youth and women in the ASTGS. The Ministry of Agriculture is supporting the creation of 1,000 SMEs which presents an opportunity for women and youth to participate in. The Youth in Agri-business Strategy was launched recently and has prescribed solutions for challenges of finance, access to land and labour/technology to support the farming enterprise for the youth. The Enable Youth Programme funded by the AfDB seeks to work with universities and research institutions to create incubation centres for youth especially young women to develop their ideas in the agri-business sector.

For every crop there is a value chain and women and youth can play a part in the different stages of the chain.

The Kirinyaga Wezesha Programme is a social transformation and economic empowerment programme targeting women, youth and PWDs. Over 90% of Kirinyaga’s population is engaged in agriculture and majority of these are women. By classifying women, youth and PWDs as vulnerable groups, it may further add to the barriers in the opportunities and challenges they face. The programme focuses on enhanced production, value addition and marketing and logistical support to move small-scale farmers to large-scale using the cooperatives model which aggregates farmers both as consumers to access high quality inputs at the best prices in the market and as high-quality producers encouraging farmers to value add their products and access markets ready to sell their products.

As agriculture is highly devolved, the role of Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation (MoALFI) is mainly in policy, capacity building and research. All programmes in the ministry have a youth and women component e.g. the Agriculture Sector Development Support Programme, Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Framework etc. that helps women choose the right value chains and access to markets while the Enable Youth Programme focuses on the youth and revising the agriculture curriculum at TVET level for the youth to have the right skills. The consultation process is tied to value chains by clustering the counties according to their value chains.

Development Partner Perspective (UN Women): A lot is being done in creating enabling frameworks and programmes but are missing a gender transformative perspective that ensures women small-holder farmers are empowered to become negotiators along the value chain and having voice and agency. UN Women is working with relevant stakeholders to create and enabling environment at national and county level to engender policies, e.g. Women’s Economic Empowerment Strategy; capacity building of women leaders at all level to advocate for the inclusion of gender to policies; allocation of resources to programmes that target women; empowering women to be leaders at community level to be part of CIDP process, social accountability process; and addressing cultural mindsets and negative social norms. 

Youth perspectives: Farmer field days for women and youth aim to improve capacities on affordable and reliable technologies.


Health care focus currently is shifting to preventive and primary health. There is an increasing burden of non-communicable diseases and infectious diseases. There is the huge gap in skilled Human Resources and lack of commodities at health facilities. The out of pocket cost affects 3 million Kenyans who are at risk of poverty, in that they spend over 40% of income on food expenditure and health. Most women mostly fall in this bracket.

UHC ensures therefore access to basic Primary health care interventions, screening for High blood pressure and sugars, as well as outpatient and inpatient surgical operations. As such this will ease the burden as all services will be free. Examples of success of devolution include the case of Mandera which has improved maternal mortality from 3794/100,000 to current 588/100,000. It is important to undertake a situational analysis in each of the 43 counties before rolling out of UHC.

Some of the progress made in health as shared by UNICEF Representative include increased immunization coverage, integrated community-based capacity strengthening and improvement in WASH which goes hand in hand with UHC. Social protection has worked well in some counties with Kakamega county piloting a cash support system. Strengthening Community health workers communication skills to better reach communities and enhance health seeking behaviors.

World Health Organization (WHO) through its representative Dr Rudi Eggers, emphasized equality and universality in access to health for all. Services should be cost effective. Health care needs to shift focus to preventive health. Intergovernmental coordination in health needs strengthening, so need for county governments and national to work together.

A case study on Turkana was shared as a success story.

The “Turkana Incentives framework” is an innovative simple basic framework that seeks to enhance health service delivery through motivation of health workers. The framework seeks to motivate the human resource which the county has recognized as a critical component of health service provision. It boasts of simple strategies such as the provision of adequate housing for staff in hard to reach areas which have water and electricity, having Sub county and facility support-utility vehicles to ease staff transportation, putting in place staff amenities in hard to reach areas e.g. recreational facilities such as – Zuku, DSTV staff canteens etc. Further the training and capacity building of staff is key. They also offer constant incremental recruitment of staff to reduce burn out and stress and are working on improved infrastructure and regular supply of required supplies of commodities.

Other non-financial opportunities such as the quarterly return tickets to Nairobi for staff, motor bikes and an insurance scheme with Jubilee whose cover incudes evacuation is in place for all staff. They also have satellite enabled phones for far flung areas.

There is an innovative child birth process where “Women in Turkan a can deliver using the squatting system” offered in facilities in Turkana county.

The session also looked at the interlinks between the Ministry of labor, health, and the county Governments.

The CS Labor acknowledged the critical role of his ministry in resolving the industrial relations that have been a serious threat in attainment of vision 2013 and health provision.

Labor is a critical enabler for the big four agenda and thus investments therein critical. He highlighted the gaps in delivery of health services such as a huge mis match in jobs and the supply of the same, where lots of graduates have no requisite skills for the industry, and thus need for training.

There are also low levels of productivity- more people working on same things, producing little and earning a lot-yet with a lot of industrial unrest, which lead to huge losses incurred (Billions of Kenya shillings lost for services not rendered)

In Kenya, a lot of cadres are overpaid, and he cited the case of doctors who earn an average of in Kenya, yet in Uganda and Tanzania, the average is about 400$ a month

There is need to strengthen the missing link, which is the need for intergovernmental standing committee made up of Health, Treasury and Council of Governors other strategies include the strengthening of the Inter county forum on transfers of staff as key but recommend that most staff be recruited on contractual terms.

Opportunities for Policy Development in health includes thedevelopment of a service charter on healthInter county agencyand a national policy on wages

There is need for Legislative initiatives. The initial capping that mandated all counties to spend a minimum of 15% of their budgets on health is a start.

There is need for legislation around ICT as there should be good systems to ensure patient confidentiality and privacy while utilizing the great opportunity that ICT provides.

Policies on data integrity and the protection and transfer of that data should be well thought out. E-health, e-waste ae aspects that should be considered. He also challenged on interpretation of legislation of women and children aspects that protect their privacy and health interventions.

Other speakers highlighted the need to address the recurring human resources challenges and especially the industrial relations (strikes) and strengthening their capacities.

Sustainable financing for Universal Health Coverage

Need for legislation and inter-governmental platforms to lead and steer the delivery of UHC. Learning from each other is key and different case studies have been shared throughout the sessions.

Use of ICT cannot be over emphasized. There are great systems for data collection, analysis of trends and diseases, as well as community engagement that are under use by different stakeholders. This is the way to go in health.

Health financing is critical. Domestic resourcing is mandatory for the counties to address health concerns. NHIF is a critical player but needs to undergo major reforms to address gaps in service provision, delays and conditions that are not favourable to citizens. The services should be of high quality. Conditional grants are currently at 4.3B but only catering for 11 level 5 hospitals. The senate has made a proposal that other facilities are included in this category, and the conditional grant increased, as well as enhance the capacity of level 5 facilities. However, it was also noted that there are facilities that have an influx of patients, yet others do not function at optimal level, so there is need to enhance community awareness and referrals. Further there is need for Kenya to design an equitable development fund to ensure sustainability and come up with a financial model (Learn from Turkey and Thailand)

There is need for research and especially Research for health to enable evidence-based financing.

Capacity of the health domain is key. This should be holistic and focus on strengthening capacity of human resources, health infrastructure, commodities, and enhanced collaboration of the county and national leadership. This includes support to training of health professionals and managing trade disputes.

Data is key for all health- related interventions. There was emphasis on need for evidence-based data collection and management systems, and especially data on vulnerable groups to ensure their needs are met. These include persons with Disabilities and Women. A case was shared where in some counties, ward administrators and chiefs capture the data on PWDS. Is this the way to go?

Other Key messages:

  • Financing UHC in Kenya should focus on prevention
  • PPP play an important role in health in Kenya. Utilize them and strengthen partnerships as much as possible
  • Drive efficiency through innovation. There is a lot of opportunity for innovation in health including IT based innovation, and community-based systems
  • Invest in continuous education in supporting primary health care and proper nutrition
  • Promote sustainable relationships with private sector
  • Focus learning on research on infrastructure, commodities and understand the risk factors
  • Need for epidemiological data cannot be over emphasized.
  • National Government to spearhead the research.


On creating an enabling environment, it was noted that Kenya’s industrialization policy emphasizes on the need to tap into local resources.

The Cabinet Secretary Hon. Munya indicated that as regards Trade balance in Kenya, the highest imports to Kenya are from China followed by India. Based on this, Kenya is focusing on and then 2nd is India. He noted that Kenya’s focus is to focus on trade substitution where we need to demonstrate if some of these goods can be produced locally

On the cost of doing business, Ethiopia was given as an example of a country that had managed to reduce cost of electricity and power tariffs which has made it a competitor in the manufacturing sector. However, Kenya has made efforts in reducing electricity costs for SMEs and certain big industries.

Finally, the cabinet secretary noted that on attracting investors that are facing challenges of high cost of production and labor, the government is offering to incentives such as favorable concessions, access to land and the identified value chains for labor intensive jobs for the youth are mainly in the textiles, manufacturing, leather sectors.

On elaborating the role of enablers, various stakeholders show cases efforts they had put in place to support trade and manufacturing. For example, the Dedan Kimathi university highlighted the certificate, graduate and post graduate certificates they have been offering on leather processing technology.

Kericho County indicated that while opportunities have been provided for the youth, the challenge of time is a problem. Some youth do not want to engage in post-secondary certificate or diploma courses that last 3 to 6 months in TVET institutions. This threatens the targeted labour force for the trade and manufacturing sectors

To address some of the challenges identified, it was noted that there was need to harmonize policies at county and national government especially on levies, requirements and licenses to manufacturers and miners to ensure growth and sustainability in the sector. (E.g. Mining and exploration requirements by the National Government). Specifically, the Kenya Industrial policy to support establishment of cottage industries and support investment in the Country was highlighted.

On providing investor incentives, proposals made included i) prioritizing local investors. (Buy Kenya Built Kenya) ii) expanding the tax base by widening the tax bracket rather than deepening to ensure that support and incentivize small and large Manufacturers and support County Governments to widen its revenue collection and iii) exploring alternatives on reducing the cost of electricity.

Finally, it was agreed that both National and County Governments need to partner with research institutions, academic institutions and private sector in an effort to solve practical industry challenges locally.

Resolutions from the final panel of the trade and manufacturing side event.

National and county governments will support cottage industries and rural manufacturers to ensure that production of small equipment and machinery are locally produced rather than imported.

That national and county governments will train and equip youth women and PWDs to venture into manufacturing.

There is need to develop a mechanism to clear pending bills and clear names of business people from the credit reference bureaus arising to default due to unpaid bills.

The issue of pending bills will be anchored in the competition law. Kenya Trade Remedy Law creates Kenya Trade Remedy Agency will protect Kenyan manufacturers from unfair competition and ensure their fair-trading practices.

There is need to ensure that the high cost of agricultural inputs is addressed to ensure competitiveness of locally manufactured products.



“From a human rights perspective, we should respect and protect the right to water for all.”

USAID Mission Director


Practical ways in which county governments, water service providers and other stakeholders can resolve the impediments to attracting investments for water and sanitation

The right to water is best achieved in a sector operating under uniform norms and standards on governance, quality, service delivery, cost recovery and protection of consumers.

Sector performance can only be ascertained if it is measured against agreed benchmarks, reported and audited regularly. Strong structures need to be put in place to ensure that this happens.

There is need to prescribe an appropriate model for regulation of small-scale water supply systems to ensure sustainability and service delivery particularly on supply, quality and revenue collection.

National reporting and monitoring should continue so as to map Kenya’s progress in meeting the rights to water and sanitation.

National and county governments must invest in water education. How can we engage with communities through local level leadership (MCAs) towards water education, particularly on proper use and harvesting?  Private sector can engage in community awareness on appropriate use of water.

Data concerns – for the sector to attract financing and improve service delivery, it is critical to have accurate, credible and reliable data. Data available is largely from regulated institutions, but a huge chunk of service providers are non-regulated entitles including community water providers. Counties should invest in generation of data at local levels to guide the sector planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Data collected from local levels can further be integrated into the national data platform. The Ministry of Water is currently working closely with IT specialists to build a national data platform for use by both counties and national government.

Strict monitoring of revenue, in terms of how much is collected vis a vis service delivered.  Transparency in management of finances by water companies demonstrated by unqualified reports will attract funding and as well as commercial loans.

Infrastructure development and sustainability is often neglected which hampers service delivery.  Counties should plan for posterity by laying a infrastructural foundation that will undergo the test of time.

Water continues to be a scarce resource with less than 50% of Kenyans accessing clean and safe drinking water.  Governance issues have been cited as the major problem facing the water and sanitation sector in Kenya.

DPs and the private sector are committed to supporting the country’s efforts to ensure water is safe, clean, affordable and easily accessible for all.  However, governance concerns must be addressed comprehensively. There has been rampant mismanagement at water boards some of which are in wrangles with county governments. There are cases cited where water boards are not

Public education on water conservation is important in the management of this scarce resource.  Counties that have water in abundance should conserve it to ensure that it is available to those who have limited or no access to water, to address inequities. 

Water and sanitation is directly linked to public health and UHC, particularly in the preventive and promotive health initiatives.  Water and sanitation is in the heart of the big four agenda.

A proposal has been made to hold a national water convention that will bring together all players in the sector in order to iron out all the challenges that the sector faces including interrogation of the policy and legal frameworks that guide the sector.  The convention will help mediate a political settlement on water management in Kenya between national and county governments to avoid the frequent wrangles that deny millions of Kenya this much needed and essential commodity. Policy coherence in application will also help curb corruption and the duplication of efforts between the national and county governments where tasks and responsibilities seem not to be clearly understood.

There is currently a consultation gap between the various stakeholders in the Water and Sanitation Sector.  There is need to convene a consultative meeting between all the stakeholders including County Assemblies, Senate, County Governments in order to iron out challenges that the sector is facing and develop a clear framework for the management of these resource including service delivery, financing, etc.

The Council of governors is committed to support the national government and the county governments to iron out some of the challenges in the sector and supports the convening of a stakeholders’ consultative forum.  The Council also recognizes the gender dimension of water and sanitation and the considers inclusion as a critical aspect of ensuring all Kenyans enjoy this valuable resource.

All borrowing and expenditure by Water Companies must be guided by the PFA Act for accountability and must always involve the executive and the assemblies as part of good governance. Some counties have incurred expenses on water which is not channelled through IFMIS, which then introduces integrity concerns.

Some water companies are declaring large sums on ‘non-revenue water’ and yet these water providers have borrowed heavily or are utilizing monies received from donor grants. This could be an indication of inefficiencies and/or malpractices.

Water is a concurrent function, with the roles and responsibilities clearly demarcated.  It is the role of the national government to coordinate and manage the regulatory bodies while the counties deal with service delivery. The Ministry is guided by the Water Act 2016 which stipulates that the Water Service Providers were an ‘interim’ arrangement for the 3-year window to implement the Act.  In March 2020, all Water Service Providers will be transferred to County Governments who will them play the oversight role.  

The MTP III has set some ambitious targets to increase water coverage from 60% to 80%; sanitation from 25% to 40%.  This is only achievable through concerted collaborative efforts between the County Governments, development partners and citizens. There is need for mutual accountability between National and County Governments.


Housing agenda has not commenced in any of the counties as a result of funding and expensive construction approvals.

UN Habitat has supported Namibia, South Africa, Batswana, Malawi to realize affordable housing for their citizens. Botswana has consistently invested in housing which has stimulated economic development.

Kenya has an existing housing gap of 1.9M houses and need construction technology for affordable housing. Block making machines produce blocks for 9 houses per day. Such machines have been donated to 6 counties.

There is need to address the situation of pastoralist in housing otherwise they will be left behind; How can this agenda address the temporally homes for the pastoralists? Social housing would be an option.

Ministry of land should provide the development plans suitable for affordable housing. The ministry has developed; Land Policy to actualize chapter 5 of constitution; National land use policy 2017- policy guideline of sustainable use of land; and worked with county governments on county development guidelines.

Discussion in progress to move Prison areas within urban areas to rural areas to release the land for affordable housing

High land price in Kenya is artificial. The ministry working to determine the actual land value index that will be applied by all.

The ministry Will release high taxation for un develop land within urban areas.

The housing project need integrated approach to succeed. Planning is central to development.

Private sector has a major role to play in housing through categorization model—some houses targeting upper class to balance out the low-cost social houses.

Affordable housing term is misleading; affordable housing applies when one can allocate 1/3 of their salary/ income to mortgage/ house project.

Enablers for affordable housing project; 

Infrastructure, -water, power, sewer, efficient financial partnerships, private partnerships.

Line ministries aligning budget to support big 4.

Government of Kenya has established Kenya financing mortgage fund.


Counties not responsible for selling the houses. The selling function not yet devolved posing a big challenge to investors. No clear exit policy after complementation of affordable housing.

The framework to implement the affordable housing is with ministry of housing not the counties.  For example, Kiambu was to be the first county to implement the project. The drawings and an investor are in place but implementation framework are a challenge. The national government not willing to devolve the full housing function.

Key points

The current punitive taxes on land and housing are a deterrent to affordable housing project.

Government working with manufacturers to lower the production cost.

The ministry of lands has reduced the land registration steps from 73 to 15 for ease of business.  Preparation in progress for electronic title processing.

UN Habitat has adequate human resource to provide capacity to stakeholders on affordable housing.

Accelerate training and process of certification of various skill.

There is need for a framework to involve public in monitoring development of the houses.

All counties to have sectoral plans for development, ease of business, and automation to leverage on regional blocks.

Ministry of land has rolled out a titling Programme to create confidence in investors to fast track the housing Programme.

Establish a closer working relationship between counties and housing ministry. More information and awareness needed in counties to bridge the huge national information gap on the affordable housing project.

There is need for a review of the framework on registration process to reduce land and property registration period to reasonable and practical period.

SACCOs can access mortgages through Kenya housing Programme led by the ministry.

Create an enabling environment to implement the affordable housing project.

Kenya has less than 30% mortgages

Majority of Kenyans earn less than Ksh. 100,000 per month

Ration of mortgages and rented houses is 6%

80% of demand of housing is in low income, and most of the housing development is for middle upper and the upper income.

Challenges of housing in Kenya:

Land cost is high

Poor land use planning

Cost of processing approval is high

Access to finance is costly.

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