Kenya needs to monitor development funds-World Bank

NAIROBI - Kenya needs to ensure proper monitoring is in place of funds for local constituencies and health services if the poor are to benefit, World Bank chief economist Francois Bourguignon said on Monday.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Mon 19 Jun 2006, 6:48 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 3:25 PM

Battling unpopularity as it heads towards a 2007 election, the Kenyan government raised the amount for Constituency Development Funds (CDFs) to 10 billion shillings ($135.8 million) this fiscal year from 7.2 billion previously, in what analysts say is a bid to woo voters.

On a four-day trip to Kenya, Bourguignon said “proper monitoring and accountability mechanisms” were needed to ensure that the funds went to sectors that are priorities for the poor.

“Otherwise, there is a high risk that funds will be captured by elites and that projects are not technically sound and sustainable,” he said in a statement.

The CDFs are designed to pay for community projects including providing tap water and repairing dilapidated roads. Under the initiative, the money is administered by the local member of parliament and a committee overseen by the MP.

But, local media have reported that most Kenyans believe the CDFs are widely mismanaged, citing a poll by the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research.

Most lawmakers had called for more than double the new allocation of CDFs.

Despite 3 straight years of economic growth, Kenya’s income disparity is widening and the number of people living on less than $1 a day continues to grow, donors and aid agencies say.

Although Bourguignon praised free primary school education introduced by President Mwai Kibaki’s government, he noted that the east African country still had to improve its health services, with the help of donor aid.

Finance Minister Amos Kimunya, who unveiled on Thursday a 549 billion shilling budget for the 2006/07, said the government had not factored in direct budget support due to uncertainty about its disbursement.

Donors, especially the World Bank, have repeatedly withheld funds due to concerns about rampant corruption. Two separate scandals forced three ministers to resign this year from a government that promised to stamp out graft when it came to power in 2002.

Kenya’s economy grew 5.8 percent in 2005 compared with 4.9 percent in the previous year, and the government forecasts growth of at least 5.5 percent in 2006 despite the lack of funds for development programmes.

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