Kenya’s growth could put DFID out of job, says aid chief

16 Sep 15

The UK aid department has said Kenya should “put us out of a job as a development partner” once it reaches economic sustainability. 

Speaking in Nairobi, Mark Lowcock, permanent secretary for the Department for International Development, said that Kenya’s growth was now more than 5%, beating the average for sub-Saharan Africa over the past five years.

Foreign direct investment flows to Kenya in 2013 were $3.6bn and Lowcock noted growing optimism that the benefits of this growth can filter down to Africans at all levels.

“So the Kenya of 2020 can be quite different to today. The government here [in Kenya] has made ambitious commitments. By 2020, there will be access to electricity for all Kenyans. The Standard Gauge Railway. The wind farm in Marsabit. Konza City, Kenya’s equivalent to Silicone Valley. The pipeline to transport oil down to a port in Lamu,” Lowcock said.

“Indeed the oil will be close to production in Turkana. And Kenya will continue with its love affair of mobile technology, with all the benefits which that brings.

“Ultimately we want Kenya to put us out of a job as a development partner. Not yet. But ultimately that must be the closing chapter in this story in which ‘everyone lives happily ever after’.”

Earlier this year the UK government reconfirmed Britain’s commitment to boosting development in Kenya. The department will focus more on skills, jobs, growth, improving the business environment and expanding the private sector, he said.

“If the current momentum continues, more than half of sub-Saharan African countries will be middle income by 2025,” he said.

“Kenya has already squeezed into this group, reached just this year. The challenge is to keep that momentum going.”

  • Judith Ugwumadu
    Judith Ugwumadu

    Judith writes about public finance, public services and economics across Public Finance International and Public Finance. She previously undertook reporting stints at Financial Adviser, Global Security Finance and The Sunday Express.

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