As part of Kenya achieving its Vision 2030 objective of becoming a middle-income industrialized country, the World Bank has approved its $750 million loan. The World Bank's International Development Association (IDA) credit is expected to support the Government of Kenya’s reforms to enhance inclusive growth, accelerate poverty reduction, and support of reforms in agriculture, housing, digital technology and fiscal management.
Part of Kenya's Vision 2030 is the advancement of digitization through the creation of the national digital ID and pushing for access of Internet services to all Kenyans, the facility will enhance service delivery by the government to its citizens, and reduce the need for face-to-face interactions and corruption opportunities.
"Measures supported by this operation are expected to benefit ordinary Kenyans through better targeting of agricultural subsidies to reach low income farmers, prosecuting those who engage in fraudulent procurement practices, increasing availability of affordable housing, and improving revenue mobilization. This operation creates a foundation for essential reforms for fighting corruption, liberalizing markets, and enhancing inclusive growth.” said Felipe Jaramillo, World Bank Country Director for Kenya.
Criticism of Huduma Namba
When it comes to the digitization of Kenya's government systems and the development of a national digital identity, there has been much criticism especially around the Huduma Namba initiative. Many have pointed out that the exercise is unnecessary as Kenya already has a national ID system which is a unique identifier for citizens. While on the other it has been pointed out that the exercise is probably just for politicians to justify eating the money.
More concerning though have been rumors about Kenya potentially selling citizen data to the highest corporate bidder.
In agriculture, the Kenya Inclusive Growth and Fiscal Management Development Policy Financing facility is expected to support critical reforms that will enhance competition and market transparency, reduce corruption opportunities, and help Kenyan farmers to achieve higher productivity and to increase their incomes. Reforms supported by the facility include better targeting of subsidies for agricultural inputs to reach the intended beneficiaries (using e-vouchers and biometric digital identification); reducing inefficiencies and leakages in the procurement and marketing of fertilizer; and establishing a warehouse receipt system and a commodities exchange to help farmers get easier access to credit and to reduce post-harvest losses.
However, how is this for irony. The official website of Kenya's Vision 2030 is suspended despite the government continuously talking about digitization as part of Kenya's Vision 2030.
Perhaps websites don't matter much in the bigger picture considering that Kenya has been punted as one of the fastest growing economies in Africa over the past ten years.
“The policy and institutional reforms supported by this operation will help improve the standard of living of ordinary Kenyans. Additionally, the policy reforms will contribute to improving good governance by the reinforcement of accountability and enforcement mechanisms through the use of digital technologies.” said Allen Dennis, World Bank Task Team Leader.