Kibaki’s legacy on economic performance after 10 years in office

A section of the rebuilt Uhuru Highway and Forest Road junction built by a Chinese company. The building of infrastructure projects, especially major highways, countrywide and revamping of railway transport in the city have opened up large swathes of the country to commerce. File

What you need to know:

  • As President Kibaki’s tenure comes to a close, the Business Daily highlights the performance various sectors of the economy during his tenure in office which comes to an end after the next General Election scheduled for March 4.

When Mwai Kibaki was sworn in as President of Kenya for the first term on December 30, 2002, East Africa’s largest economy was facing myriad problems mainly stemming from years of mismanagement and corruption under the Moi administration.

President Daniel arap Moi had ruled the country from 1978 to 2002. From 4.5 per cent in 2001, economic growth had slowed down to 0.6 per cent when he handed over power to his successor in December 2002.

In his inauguration speech, President Kibaki prioritised the economy as the focus of his tenure which comes to an end in the next two months.

The President, in the 2002 speech singled out unemployment, declining school enrolment and deterioration of the education sector, lack of access to basic and affordable health services, dilapidated roads and other infrastructure network and growing insecurity.

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 per cent.

In 2008, the economy suffered one of its major setbacks following post-election violence that engulfed the country after the disputed General Election and this has remained a stain on the president’s legacy.

The mayhem resulted in formation of the Grand Coalition Government during his second term.

During the past five years, many of the infrastructure projects which were started during the President’s first term were completed and the long-term ones started.

As President Kibaki’s tenure comes to a close, the Business Daily highlights the performance various sectors of the economy during his tenure in office which comes to an end after the next General Election scheduled for March 4.


The implementation of the Constitution started after its promulgation on August 27 2010, which set off a series of reforms which shifted power to a number of independent institutions including the Judiciary, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, County Transition Authority, National Police Service and the National Land Commission.

October 2006: Vision 2030 launched

The Vision 2030 economic blueprint, which replaced the Economic Recovery Strategy for Wealth and Employment Creation in 2007, seeks to transform Kenya into a newly industrialised, middle-income nation that provides a high quality of life to its citizens by 2030.

The Vision’s first pillar seeks to ensure that Kenya achieves and sustains an average economic growth of more than 10 per cent per annum over a 25-year period.

The second pillar seeks to build a just and cohesive society while the third pillar aims at producing a democratic political system that nurtures issue-based politics, the rule of law, and protects all individual rights and freedom.

Information communication technology

About 30 million Kenyans are using mobile phones and more than 14 million had access to the Internet as at the end of last year from less than three million mobile phone subscribers and 250,000 who had access to the Internet in 2003.

The country had 81 radio and 19 television stations at the end of last year.

The government launched Konza technopolis city project to create a hub of technology innovation in Africa. This is one of Vision 2030 projects.


HIV and Aids transmission rates have declined. About 500,000 patients are on anti-retroviral drugs compared to 10,000 10 years ago. More than 20 million mosquito nets have been distributed reducing the spread of malaria endemic over the past seven years.

Energy and electricity

Electricity connections increased to 2.11 million connections last year from 686,195 in 2003. In 2002 there were 10 energy centres in the country and these have been increased to 15 including Lodwar, Garissa and Marsabit.

Installed capacity at the end of 2011 stood at 1,534 megawatts compared to 1,142 megawatts at the end of 2002.

Financial services

About one million people had access to financial services in 2002 and by the end of last year more than 20 million Kenyans had access to financial services, a majority through the revolutionary mobile money solutions developed by Kenyans working with telecommunications companies. 

Expansion of banking services has resulted in increased access to credit by small and medium size enterprises and individuals.


Initiated the free and compulsory primary education. Donors, however, withdrew funding for the programme saying that millions of shillings could not be accounted for.

The country had seven public universities, 24 university constituent colleges and 15 chartered private universities as at the end of last year and the government has been offering free tuition in youth polytechnics to attract trainees.

Transport and communication

Since 2005 the government has been implementing the Roads 2000 Programme which has improved more than 7,000 kilometres rural roads, generated about 4.7 million person days of employment, trained 5,600 contractors and spent more than Sh1 billion in rural parts of Kenya according to the Ministry of Roads.

The 50.4km Thika Road modification into a super highway cost the country Sh31 billion.

Budget for road maintenance and upgrading programmes has been scaled up from Sh90 billion in the 2008/09 financial year to Sh125 billion in the 2012/2013 financial year.

Construction of the section of the road from Turbi to Moyale has started. Rehabilitation work of the Athi River-Namanga section of the Athi-River-Namanga-Arusha Road to modern specifications has been completed.

Repairs and upgrading of the Kisumu-Kakamega-Webuye-Kitale Road is ongoing at more than Sh10 billion while plans are at advanced stage to upgrade the Endebbes-Suam road.

Rehabilitation of the Mau Summit - Kericho - Nyamasaria - Kisumu road including the Kisumu bypass at a cost of more than Sh20 billion is ongoing and the construction of the Dongo Kundu bypass in Mombasa will start this year at a cost of Sh35 billion.


The President launched railway services under the Nairobi Commuter Rail Services Project at Syokimau on November 13. This is the first railway extension and railway station to be built in Kenya in the last 80 years.

“The commencement of commuter rail services in Nairobi and development of a modern railway station here at Syokimau will provide safe, reliable, comfortable and affordable rail transport services for city residents and visitors,” said President Kibaki during its launch.

Imara Daima and Makadara railway stations are currently under construction.

Commuter rail transport will provide inter-modal transit services for motorists and after the entire project is complete, passengers arriving by air at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, those arriving by road from Mombasa, Tanzania and the outlying counties will be able to access Nairobi by modern commuter trains.

The construction of a standard gauge railway from Mombasa to Nairobi at a cost of Sh340 billion is set to start this year. Upgrade of the old railway line between Mombasa and Malaba being run by Rift Valley Railways is currently going on.


February 2, 2012 – Kibaki opens the expanded Kisumu International Airport whose first phase was implemented at a cost of about Sh3 billion. Construction of a new terminal at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is ongoing.


August 2012 - Dredging of the Mombasa port is completed and construction of a one-kilometre second container terminal which will cost an estimated Sh30 billion starts.

Construction on the second port, as part of the Lamu Port - South Sudan -Ethiopia Transport Corridor is underway.

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