Kenya is making great strides towards the realization of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). The United Nation Development Programme report reveals that poverty and unemployment levels fell by 24 and 20 percent respectively between 1997 and 2006.
However, the Minister of State for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030, Wycliffe Oparanya said post election – violence in 2008, successive droughts , and global increases in food and energy costs especially after 2010, are likely to set this MGD off the track.
In his speech, that was read by the Ministry’s Chief Economic Advisor, Prof Michael Chege, Oparanya said the government has initiated the required interventions for the country to achieve the MDG’s by 2015.
“Under the MDG, Kenya has made universally acclaimed progress in raising our net primary enrolment ratio from 68 percent in 2000 to 93 percent in 2009, while the national literacy rate is now 83 percent,” Opranya said.
He added that “we have already achieved gender parity in primary net enrolment, but we face challenges in achieving gender parity in secondary enrolment, employment and in high level public offices. However, the new constitution has explicit provisions to address these challenges.”
The report unveiled good news that all levels of child mortality rates continued to fall between 2003 and 2009. However, the Minister said that to achieve the MDG targets, greater efforts must be put in reducing neo-natal mortalities through improved newborn care. At the same time, immunization coverage rose to 77 percent in 2009 from 57 percent in 2003.
Also on the health front, the report indicates that progress has been made in reducing the HIV/AIDS national incidence. Promoting access to ARVs, and much better management of TB and malaria.
In global and regional trade liberalization the country has made considerable progress over the past decade, the minister said. He pointed out “widely hailed progress in building ICT infrastructure and promoting the country as the region’s ICT hub and centre for business process outsourcing.”
The minister said most of the MDG policies have been funded in the Financial Year 2011/12 Budget, while others are to be found in the new Kenyan constitution and major policy statements by the President and the Prime Minister of Kenya.
The government allocated 10 percent of total expenditure to agriculture in the 2011/12 Budget with a focus on food protection and security. The Budget also sets aside Sh 2.1 billion for cash transfers aimed at alleviating hunger and malnutrition for the poorest and most vulnerable Kenyans.
Additionally, Oparanya said “the Ministry of Water and Irrigation has received funding amounting to Sh 7.3 billion in the next financial year for new irrigated land to boost food production and security.”
As the country aligns its systems towards realizing the Millenium Development Goals as well as Vision 2030, the minister said “the country is on target to meet universal primary enrolment by 2015, the country continues to devote 7 percent of its GDP to education, compared to 5 percent in the rest of Africa.”
To target geographical areas with low enrolment, the 2010/11 Budget set aside Sh 1.67 billion for school feeding programmes in the arid and semi-arid districts, and Sh 300 million for sanitary pads for needy primary school girls, lack of pads had been identified as a cause of lower female educational scores compared to boys and the new policy is expected to help close the gap.
With regard to the environment, water and sanitation, the government increased total expenditure by 6.2 percent compared to 2010/11, bringing it to Sh 58.4 billion. Together with additional funds for upgrading slums, the funds are expected to accelerate access to improved sanitation and water conservation of Kenya ‘s natural resources and biodiversity.