According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics data, by the end of the President Kibaki’s first term in office, infrastructure plans were being implemented, students in public primary schools had started learning free of charge, the number of public universities was increasing and economic growth had shot up to 7.1%.
His successor, President Uhuru Kenyatta came to power in 2013, riding on the promise to take Kenya to even greater heights and change a largely analogue government to become digital among a host of other promises.
Close to seven years years later, how has President Kenyatta faired compared to his predecessor Kibaki?
According to the latest Prosperity Index, Kenyans’ financial situation is worse off compared now compared when ex President Kibaki was in power.
The Legatum Institute, a London-based think-tank, ranks Kenya at position 113 out of 167 countries compared to 117 in 2009.
Of the 167 countries measured and tracked for prosperity in this year’s index, 148 (containing 88% of the world’s population) have seen an improvement in their prosperity since 2009. The gap in prosperity between those countries ranking at the top of the Index and those ranking at the bottom is also growing wider.
Mounting public debt, reduced savings, job cuts and a stagnant economy were cited as the primary culprits for Kenya’s poor show.
By using a 10-year score, Legatum’s research, which is backed by data from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Labour Organisation, captures year two of the second terms of both the Kibaki and President Uhuru Kenyatta regimes.
It's much easier to do business now compared to ten years ago. Kenyatta’s regime has scored big on boosting the business environment, earning a score of 59.2 compared to 50.3 in 2009.
Kenya’s governance, democracy, political participations and rule of law is steadily growing and now stands at position 83 from 101 in 2009.
Currently, the country has a score of 37.5 compared to 39.3 in 2009 on economic quality—which measures the strength of the economy in generating wealth for its workforce.
This is the slowest pace of formal job growth since 2012 when the economy churned out 75,000 formal jobs, adding to the crisis of youth unemployment. The data does not capture job cuts and net employment.
The public debt crossed the Sh6 trillion mark in July 2019, up from Sh1.89 trillion in June 2013, a growth that has sparked concerns that the ballooning loans risk hurting the economy on huge debt repayment burden.
Under President Uhuru, Kenya’s investment environment has significantly improved to 67 from position 58 in 2009.
Kenya’s health score increased to 64.5 this year compared to 55.7 on increased coverage of health facilities and increased focus on preventative measures such as immunisation.
Kenyans’ living conditions has improved under President Kenyatta to 49.3 from 42.1 under Kibaki. Legatum cites increased access to electricity, piped water, digital payments and clean fuel like cooking gas.