Is democracy bad for Kenya’s economic development?

syndicated from Wolfgang Fengler

When you are overtaken by yet-another reckless Matatu driver you may have sympathy for Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s long-time autocrat, who is credited with Singapore’s transformation from third world to first world. He once famously claimed: “Developing countries need discipline more than democracy.”

As Kenya has entered another election year, debates on the achievements of its democracy are likely to increase. A functioning democracy needs more than elections, but even the management of elections has proven difficult for Kenya in the past, which partly explains why the economic performance has often been weak in election years and beyond. If Kenya was to repeat past experiences, the country would risk returning to a low-growth cycle for the next 24 months. The dream of reaching Middle Income this decade—by the more modest World Bank definition of US$ 1000 per person—would then become all but elusive. Continue reading Is democracy bad for Kenya’s economic development?

Three myths about aid to Kenya

by Wolfgang Fengler of the World Bank

The World Bank and IMF have received much press attention in recent weeks in Kenya.  The Kenyan Kazi Kwa Vijana (“work for youth”) initiative, which the Bank was supporting through its Youth Empowerment Project, and Government’s decision to request substantial IMF funding to support macroeconomic stability have been the source of heated debates in parliament.

This gives me an opportunity to share some thoughts which are influenced by “Delivering Aid Differently”, a book which Homi Kharas and I co-authored and launched in Nairobi and Washington a year ago.

Continue reading Three myths about aid to Kenya