Reports and papers

A ‘green’ trajectory of economic growth and energy security in Kenya?

09 Dec 2016 - 12:09
Bron: ILRI/flickr

Towards a 'green' trajectory of economic growth and energy security in Kenya?

In this report the authors assess the potential of and obstacles to energy security and green growth in Kenya using a political economy approach.

Kenya’s energy security and green growth development occurs against a background of newly found oil reserves on the one hand and, on the other, a growing international consensus on the need to decarbonise national economies and energy production. The degree to which Kenya succeeds in realising green growth therefore crucially depends on the power and influence of groups that advocate either direct economic gains or a combination of social, economic and environmental development within a larger timeframe.

As the largest economy in the East African Community (EAC) and a regional hub for trade, communication, finance and transportation, Kenya has established itself as an economic powerhouse in the region. Yet unemployment is high, inequality is rising and nearly half of Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP) is derived from resource‑dependent industries. Most of these are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Moreover, access to modern energy services is low, due to high costs, irregular supply and poorly maintained infrastructure, while population size is expected to double within the next decades – coinciding with a rising rate of urbanisation. These trends give ample reason for the Kenyan state to support a trajectory of green energy growth serving the purposes of increasing energy security and local grid access, meeting its international climate ambitions and stimulating sustainable economic growth. Yet a combination of political, economic and institutional constraints may hamper this process.

This report is part of a series of country studies on energy security and green growth in middle-income countries by means of Political Economy Analysis (PEA).