Sub-national governments in Kenya emerging from the impacts of COVID-19 

H. E. Hon. Martin Wambora, EGH

Council of Governors Kenya

Kenya recorded the first case of COVID-19 on 13th March 2020 and as at 2nd March 2021 the case load stood at 106, 470 tested positive cases resulting in 1863 deaths. In the last eleven  (11) months the National and Sub-national Governments have been coordinating their efforts through establishment of the following committees:-

i. National Coordination Committee on the response to the coronavirus pandemic (NCCRCP) 

ii. Security preparedness and response committee

iii. County Governments coordination and food Supply committee

iv. National Emergency Committee

v. National Economic and Business Response Committee

As a result of the collaboration and cooperation between the two levels of Governments, various measures geared towards curbing the spread of the virus were introduced. These  include nationwide curfew, cessation of movement in and out of select Counties, closure of restaurants and bars, closure of certain markets and strict guidelines on the use of public transport. The pandemic has had huge impact on the economic development at the Sub-national level as most of the resources have been diverted to support the response initiatives towards control of transmissions and case management. Further, the pandemic struck in the middle of a Financial Year and consequently, County Governments have had to re-engineer their plans and budgets and re-strategize how services are delivered across the various sectors.  

As a result of the pandemic, economic activities have been greatly impacted leading to low incomes for Communities. Consequently, the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been slowed and gains realized so far in some goals like poverty have been reversed particularly within the vulnerable communities.

Noting that the Country is currently experiencing the third wave of pandemic, Sub-national  Governments in Kenya continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic while dealing with the immediate effects of the pandemic to contain, treat, flatten the curve of new infections and ensure immediate financial assistance and restructuring of County Integrated Development Plans (CIDPs). The Governors leading the Sub-national governments also moved to safeguard the livelihoods of communities through movement restrictions, setting up quarantine and isolation facilities in county hospitals; launching nutrition support systems; and issuing protocols for mass gatherings such as in funerals and in places of worship.

Further, Sub-national governments in Kenya have developed County COVID-19 Social Economic Recovery and Re-engineering strategies to mitigate the socio-economic implications of the pandemic and properly manage the situation in case of an occurrence of subsequent  wave(s). The socio-economic re-engineering and recovery strategies are aimed at medium to long-term interventions to prevent and address future disasters and support sustained development across the sub-national Governments. The recovery strategy is supported by five pillars which include: Boosting private sectors activity; strengthening ICT capacity; human capital development; policy, legislative, and institutional reforms; strengthening county governments preparedness and response to pandemic and disasters. Further, the sub-national Governments have come up with COVID-19 prevention guidelines for Sub-national governments and strengthened community surveillance while implementing the COVID-19 prevention measures, including social distancing and general hygiene. 

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide yet another opportunity for Sub-national governments to fast track the rebuilding of their economies from the impact of COVID-19. As we enter the decade for implementation of SDGs, sub-national Governments are working towards re-strategizing and developing acceleration action plans for accelerated SDGs implementation. 

In recognizing the unique role of sub-national governments  implementation of SDGs and the current opportunities within the County-Socio-economic re-engineering and recovery strategy, Sub-national governments in Kenya are currently designing SDGs acceleration strategies and action plans to be incorporated in their integrated development plans.

The sub-national governments are strengthening performance management geared at enhancing service delivery and facilitating rebuilding back better from the impact of Covid-19.




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