Kenya on course to reduce inequality amid economic policy reforms: report

Pedestrians and cyclists wearing face masks move along a street in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, June 2, 2020. (Xinhua/Li Yan)

Kenya has managed to reduce income and social inequalities in the last two decades amid policy and legislative reforms that encouraged inclusive growth and greater access to basic services like health, water, sanitation and health, a report launched in Nairobi said on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians and cyclists move along a street in Nairobi, capital of Kenya. (Xinhua/Li Yan)

The Inequality Trends And Diagnostic in Kenya 2020 report compiled by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) says that trickle-down economics, cash transfer for the poor, devolution of basic services had boosted the fight against inequality.

“Inequality has generally declined at the national level, in rural and urban areas, and across social strata in the decade from 2005/06 to 2015/16,” says the report.

The country implemented many pro-poor and pro-equity reforms in sectors such as education and health that are likely to have had favorable impacts on inequality and poverty reduction countrywide, it adds.

According to the report that provides a comprehensive analysis on inequality in Kenya across gender, geographical location, age and education levels from 1994 to 2016, the country’s income gap has been on a decline.

The report says a decline in inequality was higher among urban dwellers, citizens educated up to tertiary level, adding that asset ownership increased in the same period.

It says that 35 out of 47 Kenyan counties experienced a reduction in inequality in the period while the remaining 12 experienced an increase in inequality in the same period.

The report says Kenya’s capital Nairobi recorded the highest reduction in inequality while the semi-arid counties of Turkana, Samburu, Kajiado, Wajir and Tana River had the highest spike in inequality.

The report says youth and women comprised the bulk of unemployed citizens who mainly worked in the informal economy that has minimal security and is prone to external shocks.

It says that affirmative action ensured that Kenya reduced disparities in access to education, health, clean water, sanitation, electricity, mobile phones and Internet connection.

The report proposes fiscal incentives combined with continuous policy reforms and citizens engagement to help narrow income and gender gap, stimulate inclusive growth and strengthen national cohesion.

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