THE LEGATUM PROSPERITY INDEX™ 2016

Bringing Prosperity to Life

Kenya

Ranked 97th of 149

At a glance

Ranks

97 th on the Legatum
Prosperity Index™

108th
59th
68th
103rd
119th
137th
100th
17th
96th

SUB-INDEX RANKINGS

In the Prosperity Sub-Index rankings, Kenya performs best on Social Capital and Business Environment and scores lowest on the Safety & Security sub-index.

Visit our Rankings table to see how Kenya compares to other countries.

Prosperity Gap

The ‘Prosperity Gap’ takes a country's GDP and uses it as the yardstick to measure a nation's expected Prosperity Index ranking.

In 2015, Kenya became a middle-income country according to World Bank threshold. Given its wealth, Kenya over-delivers prosperity, but it performs differently across the nine sub-indices: it has a huge prosperity surplus in Social Capital and Business Environment sub-indexes, but a significant deficit in Safety & Security.

Note:
In the chart above, each dot represents a country. The curve shows the general tendency with which prosperity increases as GDP per capita increases. If a country falls below the curve, then we can say that compared to all other countries, it is under-delivering prosperity for its citizens. Likewise, if a country rises above the curve, then we can say that it is over-delivering prosperity for its citizens. Learn more about the Prosperity Gap here.

Alternatively, have a look at the Prosperity Gap view on our Rankings table for a full list of countries and to see how each of them are performing on the various sub-indices.

Commentary

The Prosperity Index captures Kenya as a country with an extremely varied performance across the Index, where it goes from ranking 17th in Social Capital to ranking 137th in Safety & Security. Likewise, whilst the country has achieved macroeconomic stability and a sustainable growth, it still has major challenges in the health sector.

Kenya’s best performance comes in the Social Capital sub-index, where the country has posted a 13 rank improvement over the past decade, and has almost doubled its prosperity surplus, which is now the biggest in the world –even above that of the top performer New Zealand. Among other factors, a very high voter turnout and a high percentage of Kenyans involved in volunteering have contributed the most to this success, for which Kenya now ranks first among its regional peers. This is indeed a promising trend for a country whose aim is to increase shared prosperity starting from a solid and strong society.

On the other hand, Kenya’s worst performance comes in the Safety & Security sub-index, where the country sits toward the bottom of the Index together with war-torn states such as Libya and Yemen. Despite not being a clear-cut civil conflict, here the most challenging issue is represented by Al-Shabaab, who has been attacking indiscriminately in the last few years, targeting mostly civilians and claiming high numbers of lives. Apart from the obvious human cost, this has also serious consequences for the economy, and in particular for an otherwise flourishing tourism sector.

Whilst Social Capital is Kenya’s best performance and sits in the top 20 of the Index, the country is still facing major challenges concerning its security situation.
Whilst Social Capital is Kenya’s best performance and sits in the top 20 of the Index, the country is still facing major challenges concerning its security situation.

On a more positive note, the Index has recorded a notable improvement in the Governance sub-index, where Kenya has posted a significant 48 rank increase since its lowest point in 2009, after post-election violence and a severe drought had badly affected the whole country. Such an improvement is mostly explained by several important successes, namely stronger democratic institutions, greater female participation (the share of women MPs having improved from 7 to 19.7 percent), but also citizens expressing more confidence in their government. However, the high level of corruption remains a limiting factor for Kenya’s democracy, and urgently needs reform and attention. The 2010 Constitution, for example, could start the process if the measures it includes for increased accountability and transparency are successfully implemented.

Kenya has also improved in its Business Environment sub-index, now 5th in the region and in the top half of the Index. Specifically, the country has managed to build a flexible labour market and help facilitate access to credit. The population is also confident in this vibrant business climate, with 95% of Kenyans thinking that working hard gets you ahead. Yet, like many of its peers, Kenya has still issues with electricity, which remains hard to obtain. Related to this improvement in the Business Environment sub-index, it is also worth noting that Kenya has successfully transitioned from a low-income to a middle-income country. This has been reflected in an increase in people’s satisfaction with their living standards (from 36% to 47%) and household income (from 3% to 12%) over the last decade. Yet, in terms of rankings, the Economic Quality sub-index has not improved much since 2007, with Kenya moving up only 2 ranks to 108th.


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Data

How to read this graph:
When comparing multiple countries on a spider chart, data points that appear
further away from the center represent a better performance to the points that are closer to the center.