• D. M. Mngoda Jomo Kenyatta university of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya
  • J. A. Misati Jomo Kenyatta university of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya
Keywords: Participatory governance, vision 2030, social development, decentralisation


Kenya aspires to become a globally competitive and prosperous Nation with high quality of life by the year
2030. This quest began soon after independence with the realization the government needed to put in place
measures to ensure rapid economic development and social progress for all citizens. A premier social policy;
sessional paper no. 1 of 1965 on African Socialism and its application to planning in Kenya envisaged to spur
economic growth by rapid industrialization and development of the productive agricultural sector in rural
areas failed to embrace decentralized decision-making and local participation and by 1970’s the inadequacies
of the economic growth & top down approaches had become apparent. In the subsequent decades, the
government formulated and implemented various policies and reform measures aimed at decentralization
efforts to enhance equity and faster pro-poor growth. In the education sector, the Gachathi report (1976) and
Mackay report (1981) among others sought to emphasize the need for education for practical orientation and
self reliance , While in the health sector the government launched its proposal for far reaching changes
placing greater emphasis upon decentralized priority setting and equitable allocation of resources alongside
the national development plans. In 1983, the District Focus for Rural Development (DFRD) strategy was
launched with the sole aim of making the district the locus for project identification and implementation. More
recently, the Economic Recovery Strategy for Wealth and Employment Creation (ERSEWC 2003) which
outlined interventions and strategies for reducing poverty aimed at enhancing access to the benefits of
economic growth by the most disadvantaged members of the society was formulated, culminating in the
current blue –print, The Kenya Vision 2030. This paper assesses the reforms and their resultant impacts on
social development in Kenya over the decades, with greater emphasis placed on the current programmes. It
argues that whereas the strategy’s foundation is erected on the economic, social and political pillars,
strengthening the on-going institutional and governance reforms will go a long way in raising efficiency in the
production and social sectors. Data was obtained mainly from secondary sources including; sessional papers,
National development plans and statistical abstracts. Discourse analysis involving a critical review of the
existing literature indicates that the implementation of various development policies notwithstanding, poverty
and other development related setbacks persisted. It is recommended that constructive civic engagement,
cubing brain drain among highly trained technocrats, ensuring sustainable peace and tranquility especially in
the neighboring countries and restoring financial discipline including curbing corruption will go a long way in
guarding against depleting the much prized gusto necessary for propelling the county towards industrialization
by the year 2030.