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Diplomacy and International Studies Conferences | Institute Of Diplomacy and International Studies


Prof. Nzomo Addresses High Commissioners of the Commonwealth

Diplomacy and International Studies Conferences

Consultancy Work for National and International Bodies

Date & Time: From 2016-06-17
To 2016-06-17
Description of Conference

Consultancy Work for National and International Bodies

  1. Participated in writing of the Capacity Assessment and Rationalization Programme (CARPs) draft report for the Ministry of Devolution and Planning, 2015.
  2. Consultant for TradeMark East Africa on a Baseline Study for Mombasa Port Corridor Charter, September, 2014.
  3. Appointed a member of the EY Consortium on the Ministry of Devolution and Planning Capacity Assessment and Rationalization Programme (CARPs) to head the Thematic Group on Options and Incentives, August 2014.
  4. Consultant for Diagnostic Initiatives on The East African Chronic Poverty Report (EACPR): A Case Study of Kenya, 2014.
  5. Appointed a member of the board of Ambassador Francis K Muthaura Foundation.


Meetings and Seminars Held

  1. Participated as a resource person in a training course on Trade Investment and Negotiations jointly organized by Foreign Affairs Institute of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Institute of Diplomacy & International Studies, University of Nairobi where I presented three presentations June 2015.
  2. Was invited to participate in the Refugee Forum at University of Nairobi to mark the World Refugee Day for the year 2015.
  3. Participated in the meeting of the Symposium on Counter-terrorism organized by Institute of Diplomacy & International Studies, University of Nairobi, June 2015.
  4. Attended as a resource person to the Validation Forum held in Mombasa in December 2014 for the Baseline Study for Mombasa Port Corridor Charter.
  5. Participated in a fund-raising for Katheri Girls High School in Meru County held on 6th June 2015.




Over the last decade, the Government and the private sector have invested heavily in the improvement and modernization of the transport infrastructure and services aimed at improving trade facilitation. Some of these investments include the dredging of the Mombasa Port, completion of Berth 19, construction of the second container terminal, development of Embakasi ICD, focus on regional road links, privatisation and improvement of weighbridges, customs modernisation project, the standard gauge railway line, development of Simba System, KWATOS and the Kenya National Single Window System. In addition, the private sector widened and deepened its provision of services through improved logistics and systems.

However, despite all these, challenges still remain and transport inefficiencies are among the biggest impediments to performance at the Mombasa Port and the Northern Corridor affecting their competitiveness.

As a result of the above, the Mombasa Port Community comprising of both public and private sector developed the Mombasa Port Community Charter in order to realize the full potential of the Mombasa Port Corridor.

The mission of the charter is to establish a stakeholder collaborative framework that will contribute to a safe, efficient and sustainable port and corridor. The charter is expected to demonstrate the performance of the sector in terms of delivering the expectations of the stakeholders who seek evidence of achievements.

TMEA took the first step in delivering a shortlist of key performance indicators on the “Dashboard” that was started in 2013. To enhance commitment to increase transparency in the sector, TMEA undertook to carry out a more comprehensive study to establish baselines and develop a monitoring mechanism, the outcome of which will contribute to a fully fledged performance dashboard.

The Northern corridor starts from Mombasa and is East Africa’s main trading route handling about 75 percent of the freight traffic in the East African region.  The performance of the corridor is determined mainly by the condition of the Mombasa Port, the road infrastructure including weighbridges, the rail infrastructure and the border crossings.

The Port of Mombasa is the major gateway to Kenya’s international trade by sea handling 22 million tons of goods annually[EM1]  (2013).  The Port is still making effort to come to par with its international counterparts and faces serious challenges including inadequate capacity, inadequate infrastructure, high costs, labour inefficiency and inadequate equipment.  This is the case for both the port and its inland container terminals

The Mombasa Port scores low on efficiency parameters by global standards. The Port also suffers from poor rail connectivity which affects evaluation of cargo to the hinterland. The road infrastructure within the corridor is average good, but capacity is limited as most part of it is single lane highway.  Due to the low capacity of the rail system, about 95 percent of the off take from Mombasa is by road, causing congestion along the route[EM2] .  The recent removal of many road blocks and the reforms at the weighbridges has improved the transit time and cost.

The railway infrastructure performance is showing some improvement with off takes from the port increasing from 2.9 percent in December, 2012 to 5.4 percent in June, 2014[EM3] .  This is mainly as a result of rehabilitation of the track and improvement of speeds.  Improved capacity in terms of locomotives and wagons has also contributed to the enhanced off take.  However, further improvement is required of the remaining length of the track, bridges and other facilities.  There are also cases of wagons waiting for locomotives to pull them up and other systemic delays such as shunting, marshalling and depot delays.  The standard gauge railway track that was launched in early 2014 will be ready by 2017.  This will bring tremendous improvement in freight transport along the corridor thereby reducing the transit times and costs

The border crossing at Malaba and Busia are active and are major checkpoints along the corridor.  Over the last decade, there has been remarkable improvement in clearance times at the crossing from a high of 45 hours in 2005 to about 3 hours currently[EM4] .  Once the one stop border post at Malaba is complete, together with a new bridge, there will be further improvements.  However, there will still be need to provide a multi-lane exit at the border crossing because of the high number of freight traffic and the fact that further logistics and system improvement will not stretch the capacity much further in clearing the long queues at the crossing.

Additional improvements to the corridor can be obtained through application of the green channel concept starting with operators that are currently certified as Authorised Economic Operators (AEO) but KRA.  This will have the impact of unclogging the Port and the checkpoints thereby improving efficiency.

The existing electronic data interchange system (EDIS) is well coordinated and implementation of the Kenya National Single Window System is on course.  However, there is need to harmonise operations of all the EDIS including collapsing some modules to avoid parallel operations that can bring confusion and disharmony.  The EDIS has the potential of improving the performance indicators along the corridor.  Labour inefficiency and labour unions attitudes towards the charter are a serious concern.  This should be addressed by identifying the real issues and developing a joint action plan between the port management, charter stakeholders and the union with a view to resolving any issues that stand in the way.  The issue of Port privatization should be put in proper perspective.

The stakeholders have shown positive response towards the Charter and the signatories should build on this to give impetus to the initiative. 

An additional benefit derived from the study is that data that hitherto have been difficult to obtain is now flowing to the Northern Corridor Observatory.  A number of institutions have come on board to provide data.  This includes KRA, KPC, KRC/RVR and some additional data from KPA.  Some data is yet to come onboard and the consultants are working with the relevant institutions to have them transmitted to the NCTTCA who will have to process them for use.

This report is as a result of the study carried out through the support of TMEA, and will help in the assessment of the impact of the implementation of the charter[EM5] 




Gerrishon K. Ikiara

Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies

University of Nairobi

Revised Draft Report

January, 2014


The challenge posed by high levels of poverty among the Kenyan population was recognized right from the time the country became independent in 1963 from a 70-year British colonial rule. The country’s seminal policy document the Sessional Paper No. 10 of 1965 (Republic of Kenya, 1965) identified poverty as one of the top three socio-economic problems that had to be eliminated. The other two problems were illiteracy and poor health. Since then, literally all major policy documents and 5-year Development Plans as well as Kenya’s Vision 2030 development initiatives have given high prominence to eradication or at least alleviation of these problems.

However, in spite of this persistent focus on poverty reduction in the first 50 years of the country’s post-independence period, the problem has deteriorated for most of the period except 2003-2012. The country’s proportion of the total national population living below poverty line rose from 29% in 1963 to 56% by the year 2000 before declining to 46.6% by 2007 and to about 40% from a recent World Bank estimate. The country’s incidence of poverty worsened after the first half of the 1970s, which coincided with the decline in the country’s economic performance following the global oil crisis of early 1970s.

This paper reviews the current status of Kenya’s chronically poor and is part of four case studies of the East African Community which are prepared as background papers for the proposed East African Poverty Report being prepared jointly by the Development Initiative Africa Hub and the Chronic Poverty Advisory Network (CPAN). The paper starts with an overview of Kenya’s poverty situation and trends in the last five decades and focuses on chronic poverty situation in Kenya. Some limited comparison is made between Kenya’s poverty status and poverty eradication policies and outcomes where data permits.

Kenya’s population increased by more than 5 times from 8.5 million at independence in 1963 to an estimated 42 million at the end of 2013- the country’s 50th anniversary of its independence. This rapid growth of the  national population has over the years piled increasing pressure on the country’ resources and pushed increasing numbers of Kenyans below the poverty line.

The country’s population living in absolute poverty was estimated to be about 4.2 million people or 29 per cent of the total population in 1963, with the arid and semi-arid areas identified as the most affected areas. The country’s population living in absolute poverty increased three-fold from 4.2 million to 12.6 million people in the country’s first two decades after independence, between 1974 and 1994[A6] .

Given the large proportion of the Kenyan population living below poverty line and rising incidence of chronic and extreme poverty[A7] , the poverty problem has emerged as one of the nation’s major and sensitive issue economically, socially and politically. The segments of the population more affected by poverty include the people living in arid and semi-arid areas, the youth  who form the largest proportion of the population in Kenya, orphaned children, the elderly citizens without family support or any form of social protection, large sections of rural landless population and urban slum dwellers. The level of political tension in the country in recent years, including the post-election violence of the disputed presidential elections of 2007 has tended to be associated with the prevailing poverty levels in the country.[A8] 

Kenya’s incidence of absolute poverty aggravated sharply after the global oil crisis of the mid-1970s which reduced the country’s GDP growth rate from an annual average of 6.5% to less than 4 per cent per annum for the period 1973-75.

Deteriorating general and chronic poverty situation was reflected in rapidly increasing number of people without adequate food and nutrition, access to essential services such as education, safe water and sanitation, employment, health facilities and decent housing. By early 1990s approximately 13 million Kenyans (50% of the total national population) did not have access to safe water while another 6 million did not have basic sanitation facilities (UNDP, 1994).

A number of studies on poverty in Kenya attribute the country’s high levels of poverty to unequal distribution of  inadequate access to land, low wages and associated low labour productivity, low labour absorptive capacity leading to high levels of unemployment, inadequate social services such as education and health; poor implementation of development programmes, lack of focus and commitment to poverty reduction efforts, lack of effective social security policies and mechanisms (ILO, 1972: Ikiara & Tostensen, 1995, World Bank, 1994).

The ILO report of 1972 linked rising levels of poverty to low incomes of the people due to low wages and low returns to self-employment, high levels of underutilized labour, low productivity of the labour force often due to poor training and labour deployment systems. Other causes of poverty highlighted by the Report include rural-urban imbalance and adverse and external factors especially in form of inappropriate technology transfer, export market barriers and poor terms of trade.

Failure to have comprehensive land policies and reforms, poor management of financial and delivery services, low technological capability, inadequate or lack of exploitation of rural-urban linkages and the lack of an effective social security system for the majority emerged as some of the root causes of rural poverty (Gsanger, H, 1994).

Analysis of poverty spread in Kenya’s rural areas show that poverty in the country is much more concentrated in sparsely populated arid and semi-arid areas, especially in the North-Eastern Province, and largely afflicts small-scale farmers, pastoralists, farm workers, unskilled and semi-skilled workers, women-headed households, people living with disabilities and AIDs/HIV orphans (IFAD, 2011 ). An IFAD Report identifies the following as the factors that have aggravated the country’s poverty situation: rapid population growth, environmental degradation and global climate change, the post-election violence of 2008. (IFAD, 2011)

Poor governance and weak democratic institutions have also increasingly been seen as factors that have perpetuated and indeed entrenched poverty in the country making it difficult for the poor to raise issues of concern to them with the government (Ikiara & Tostensen, 1995:67). Review of past anti-poverty strategies in Kenya shows that policies that were formulated to deal with poverty in the last 50 years had, to a large extent failed to stop entrenchment of poverty in the country.

In view of the persistent and worsening poverty situation in the country especially between mid-1970s and the year 2000, the last decade witnessed unprecedented attention by the Kibaki government to national efforts and programmes aimed at reduction of the overall poverty in the country. This was pursued in the context of  a two-pronged strategy. First, there were concerted efforts to revive the economy in order to create employment and improve general food security in the country. Secondly, the recognition of the existence of a large proportion of the hard-core or chronically poor population who were not, by nature of their economic and social situation, equipped to participate in the economy effectively to pull themselves out of the poverty cycle, the government embarked on special measures in form of social protection initiatives targeted to the chronically poor part of the population. This is for instance, seen in the rapid increase in government and donor funded cash-transfer and non-cash social protection programmes targeting Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC), the destitute Elderly population above 65 years, pastoral communities in the arid and semi-arid areas and people with disabilities.

The first significant decline in the country’s poverty incidence was during the period 2003-2012. This has been generally attributed to a well-focused and effective implementation of the Economic Recovery Strategy (ERS) which focused attention on economic growth accompanied by revitalization of key agriculture and cooperative sectors use of redistributive and social protection aimed at special categories of poverty groups. The Kibaki administration, which assumed power in 2003, after a 24-year rule of President Daniel Arap Moi and 2007, implemented a wide range of measures which led to a rapid improvement in the economy during the period with the gross domestic product more than doubling from US$ 15 billion in 2003 to US$ 36.1 billion in 2011, as per capita income also doubled from about US$ 400 to US$ 850 during the period[A9] . Despite major challenges facing the country, including the referendum of 2005 and its aftermath, the new government was able to re-establish a robust and growing economy characteristic of the first decade after independence. The level of poverty declined from 56% of the population living below the poverty line in 2002 to 46% by 2006.The country’s real GDP growth rate rose from 0.5% in 2002 to 7.1% by 2007 before the post-election violence reversed the gains made, pulling down the GDP growth rates to 1.6% by end of 2008.[A10]  This sharp decline in the economic performance in 2008 and 2009 demonstrates the high degree of sensitivity and vulnerability of the Kenyan economy to unstable political environment.

However, despite the success achieved in reducing the proportion living in poverty by more than 10-percentage points during the period 2003-2013, the levels of overall poverty as well as chronic poverty remain high and a major area of concern in the country. Available data show that the distribution of absolute and chronic poverty levels is highly uneven across rural and urban areas and from province to province and county to county.

In context of the East African Community, Kenya compares poorly with regard to national success in fighting poverty. Available regional comparative poverty data show that Kenya has had less success in reducing its proportion of population below the poverty line using comprehensive poverty incidence survey carried out between 1990 and 2010. Data from these surveys indicate that Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda recorded the lowest proportions of population below poverty of 25%, 33% and 45% respectively with Kenya occupying the 4th position (46%) and Burundi 5th position (with 70%) of population below poverty line.

It is also evident that the impact of anti-poverty measures implemented by the government has varied widely from district to district and province to province with this disparity often become a major source of social and political tensions in the country especially in the on-going implementation of the devolution programme through the newly created counties. The data shows that the impact of the national economic growth performance on individual counties and districts varied significantly influenced by factors such as dominant economic industries and sectors such as agriculture, processing activities, wholesale and retail trade, tourism, etc.

The ambitious programme of Free Primary Education (FPE) launched in 2003 hence enabled about 1 million extremely poor children to go to school is regarded as a milestone in the country’s efforts to tackle some of the main drivers of chronic poverty in the medium and long-terms. The rapidly expanding cash transfer programme now receiving increasing annually budgeted resources is also seen as a highly welcome move to deal with the chronically poor segments of the Kenyan population.

 [EM1]Please quote source




 [EM5]executive summary  should provide a brief synopsis of  the chapters in this report, major findings, key recommendations  (in brief)

 [A6]What is the status in the 2000s – 2010/11/12/13???

 [A7]What proportion of the population is in chromic poverty. It is not apparent from the couple of paragraphs above

 [A8]How accurate is this? Any evidence? Reference?

 [A9]Wouldn’t it be useful to further interrogate the underlying inequalities that differentiate per capita income amongst the chronically poor from other categories of poor and non-poor?


This aggregation could be misleading

 [A10]This assumes a strong correlation between economic growth and poverty reduction that is not sufficiently substantiated

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China Trade and Investment

Date & Time: From 2016-06-12
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Description of Conference
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Date & Time: From 2012-02-26
To 2012-02-28
Description of Conference

The symposium was organized by the National Defence College (NDC), International Peace Support Centre  (IPSTC) and IDIS and was held at IPSTC, Karen. Participants were drawn from East Africa and India

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