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Country Profile

Kenya has the largest economy in East Africa with GDP at US$ 18 billion (2005) with an estimated total population of 34.3 million. However, it also has a high incidence of absolute poverty. An alarming 46%  of the population is estimated to live in absolute poverty. The number of poor people increased from 3.7 million from the period 1972-73 to an estimated 15 million today. This situation is aggravated by poor governance, weak internal control systems and lack of will to carry out the commitments made through legislative, policy and institutional frameworks.

Kenya experienced an average of 4% GDP growth from 2000 to 2007. Agriculture remains the dominant sector in the Kenyan economy, accounting for 22.6% of the GDP and a significant proportion of employment. The government sees industrialization as the main development challenge, but the share of manufacturing grown since independence, and the sector received a major boost following the inclusion of Kenya in the list of beneficiaries of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Out of total 11.85 million of labour force 75% is in agriculture. Kenya is struggling to attract foreign direct investment (FDI), especially compared to its East African neighbours, a situation that is aggravated by poor governance.

Cooperative situation

Cooperatives are one of the pillars supporting Kenya’s economic growth since independence. In 2007 the cooperatives mobilized 31% of the national savings. The following figures show the significant involvement of cooperatives in Kenya’s economy:

  • The turnover of the cooperative sector rose from Kshs. 10.9 billion to 30 billion.
  • 63% of Kenyans derive their livelihoods directly/indirectly from cooperative based activities.
  • 250.000 people are directly employed by cooperative based institutions.
  • 38% of agriculture-based cooperative societies were dealing with coffee, dairy, pyrethrum and cereals in December 2006.

As an integral part of the Government strategy of wealth creation and poverty reduction, cooperatives activity cut across all the sectors of the national economy that include agriculture, finance, housing, transport, building and construction, manufacturing and distribution trade. Cooperative activities concern mainly the financial sector (44%) and the agricultural sector (38%).
The cooperative movement is well structured with more than 11.000 registered Cooperative Societies in 2007. The Kenya National Federation of Co-operatives is the national apex cooperative organization and 8 other National cooperative organizations/institutions are bringing together cooperatives per main activity such as bank, insurance, college, etc. Cooperatives gather at least 7 million members in Kenya.  
The growth and support of cooperatives in Kenya present the possibility of promoting all key objectives of CoopAFRICA:  Establishing an enabling legal and policy environment; enhancing access to support services through Centres of Competence; promoting effective co-ordinating structures; and strengthening the cooperative movement through a Challenge Fund mechanism.

Challenge Fund Partners

The Challenge Fund facility of CoopAfrica is concerned with three main areas of cooperative development: services, innovation and training. So far, CoopAfrica held three calls for proposals under this facility. In the first call which closed in June 2008 a total of 145 proposals were submitted to CoopAfrica. Eight proposals were selected for funding totaling USD 301,354. In the second call 141 project proposals were received in December 2008 from 6 countries, of which 22 projects have been selected. The projects for the second round are worth an estimated sum of USD 1, 330, 000. Applications submitted during the third call, held in May 2009, are currently being processed. Small grants of up to USD 20,000 are considered and selected throughout the year without a special call.

The following projects from Kenya have been selected for funding through the CoopAfrica Challenge Fund:

CIC LTD - Co-operative Insurance Company - Sensitize Cooperatives on risk Management - (pdf file, 677kb)  The project will evaluate the kind of risks facing co-operative organizations in Kenya through the collection and distribution of relevant information to promote risk reduction and sustainable development of cooperatives. This will include sensitisation to risk associated with fire and theft through enhancing occupational health and safety awareness, as well as ongoing monitoring and evaluation activities to establish impact.

Co-operative College of Kenya, Promoting HIV/AIDS Responsive Cooperative Movement Sector in Kenya (HARE Coops Kenya) - (pdf file, 269kb)  The aim of the project is to promote HIV/AIDS mainstreaming within the cooperative movement through capacity building of apex organizations, district cooperative officers and selected cooperative organizations. The project will identify four cooperative organizations in which extensive HIV/AIDS interventions can take place, while promoting a non-discriminating work environment with access to voluntary counseling and testing.

Cooperative Consultancy Services Ltd,  Enhancing Institutional Capacity and Sustainability of SACCOS in Kenya Through the Provision of Specialised Financial Advisory Services - (pdf file, 238kb)  The project will build the capacity of savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs) to provide financial advisory services in various spheres of management. The project has identified key areas in which the SACCOs need capacity building in order to better serve their members and maximise use of resources. The project will select at least 20 SACCOs in eight provinces of Kenya (two in the Coast and Western provinces, one in the North-eastern province, and three for the other provinces each). Emphasis will be put on gender issues to ensure that women and youth benefit significantly from the project both as ordinary members and in leadership.

Kabisi Farmers Cooperative Society, ‘Take a Cow – Give a Calf’: Replicative Dairy Project - (pdf file, 247kb) The project will help 100 impoverished households become self-sufficient through provision of livestock (heifers), related services and training in basic entrepreneurial skills. An initial 100 heifers are expected to form a core foundation for the growth of community assets. Each family will give their first three born calves back to the cooperative, to be handed over to other members.

KENATCO Taxis Multipurpose Cooperative Society Ltd Cooperative, Cabs Revolving Fund (CCRF) Project seeks to empower members through establishing a revolving fund to purchase individually or jointly owned vehicles for car hire services and eventually buy out KENATCO Taxis Ltd state parastatal to secure continuing and sustainable employment.

Kencom SACCO Limited, Kencom SACCO Training of Trainers Course This project will train members in critical business skills and entrepreneurial knowledge with a view of enabling them, not only to manage their personal finances effectively but also to utilise their loans in profitable ventures.  Members will be trained in Business and financial planning and entrepreneurship. Training of trainers will be adopted to ensure that all members are trained beyond the term of the challenge fund grant.

KNFC - Kenya National Federation of Co-operatives - Co-operative Governance Project (CGP) - (pdf file, 602kb). The CGP will improve development of an effective cooperative movement while strengthening governance, transparency and accountability in cooperative leadership.

Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI), Enhanced Fish Market Information (EFMI) Project: Use of modern communication technology to improve Lake Victoria fishing cooperatives income - (pdf file, 270kb) The project will set up a system for collecting real time key market information using mobile phones from about 150 fish landing sites, markets and fish processing firms. The information will be relayed to a data centre located in Kisumu, to be synthesized, packaged and made accessible to beneficiaries through mobile phones, the Internet, newspapers and local radio. The information will include: prices and quantities of fish; number of fish buyers and cold storage fish trucks and; basic weather information that can influence market decisions.

Kenya Rural Savings and Credit Cooperative Union (KERUSSU), Ushirika FM Radio Station Project The Ushirika radio station is being established and gaining national outreach by providing information on cooperative education,  roles and responsibilities, agricultural education and cooperative management.  Diverse topics are addressed including: Live call-in programmes with experts and cooperative management answering specific queries; cooperative training and education; reports on cooperative general meetings; and information sharing on rights and responsibilities of cooperative members and advocating for appropriate government policy and legislation.

Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives Society (KUSCCO) and partner Agric Chains Development LTD Access to Markets and Financial Services for Rural Small-holder Fruit Producers Project - (pdf file, 285kb). The project will address the issues of market and financial access by strengthening the capacity of one Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCO) and two marketing cooperatives to provide an estimated 700 producers with credit services and market enhancement strategies. The SACCO and marketing cooperatives are MEFAT SACCO and Koyumkaa and Soin Marketing Societies.

Mugama Farmers Co-operative Union Ltd, Specialty Coffee Co-operative Project (SCCP) The project will empower coffee farmers, field committees and staff on good agricultural practices for increased coffee quality/quantity production for increased incomes and poverty reduction. Special emphasis of the Project will be on empowering the community on coffee value addition and marketing while encouraging increased consumption of coffee locally.

NAWACOM Investment Cooperative Society LTD, Recycling of Organic Wastes into Fertilizers project The project will provide farmers with affordable and alternative fertilizers through waste recycling, thus creating employment opportunities for NAWACOM members and promoting environmental sanitation. The project will provide initial training and capacity building for new composters and for senior composters on new composting techniques, thereby boosting production.

Swisscontact Establishment of Innovative Cooperative Cells Project - (pdf file, 266kb) The project will extend the Swisscontact model to assist micro-entrepreneurs and households to access immediate sustainable profitable savings and credit services.  Based on the successes of the ongoing Mavuno Group Savings and Lending Project and the Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCO) Start-up Kit Project, Swisscontact aims to establish 300 new cells and secure registration for 15 selected groups as SACCOs with the Ministry of Cooperatives and Marketing Development. The project will recruit Community Based Trainers (CBTs) to mobilise, train and supervise the cells and new SACCOs. Groups will contribute to a training fund that will ensure self-sustainability.

Uriri farmers Co-operative Society LTD - Soy Bean Production and Value Chain Addition - (pdf file, 1.41MB)The project will transform livelihoods of 700 families in Rongo District, Southern Nyanza region by diversifying and introducing new crops, creating new income generating activities and employment opportunities for local farmers.

Focal Point

Name & Title Institution Contact Details
Francis A. Munane
Executive Director
Kenya National Federation of Co-operatives

Kenya National Federation of Co-operatives
P.O. Box 49768, Nairobi
Tel: (254) 20 55 71 34


Eastern Africa

Last update:13.08.2009 ^ top