The World Bank has approved a credit of US$ 100 million to improve service delivery in Kenya’s municipalities.
The Pan African News Agency (PANA) learnt that the International Development Association (IDA) credit for the Kenya Municipal Programme was approved by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors on Tuesday.
The bank, which made this known in a statement on Tuesday, said that, “the facility will focus on strengthening local governance, institutions, and physical infrastructure, with the ultimate objective of improving services delivered to Kenyans in the 15 largest municipalities”.
It said that the funds would also improve the viability of the five largest cities and all provincial capitals in Kenya.
“Kenya’s municipalities are critical to economic growth and regional equity but are operating far below their potential, due to infrastructure bottlenecks, weak finances and poor management,” Johannes Zutt, the bank’s country director for Kenya, said in the statement.
He also stated that, “rapid urbanization has left Kenyan cities with a huge unmet demand for critical infrastructure and basic services, and this has constrained the productivity of businesses and negatively impacted the quality of life of residents”.
The statement noted that the Municipal Programme would support Kenya’s Vision 2030.
The vision had identified urbanization as one of the key development challenges, and will help deepen the reforms that the government has undertaken since 1996 to strengthen accountability by local authorities.
“It will also strengthen the capacity of municipalities to cope with the rising demand for quality services arising from the rapid increase in urban population,” it added.
The statement said that, in 1999, Kenya’s urban population was about 10 million people or 35 per cent of the country’s population.
“The five largest cities, including Nairobi and Mombasa, accounted for a third of the urban population,” it said.
The bank estimated that Kenya’s population would rise to 16.5 million people (45 per cent of the population) by 2015 and increase further to 23.6 million people or 54 per cent of the population by 2030.