Informal workers propped up the country’s economy—until they were suddenly struggling to survive.
- 62.3 Public Health
- 74 Financial
- 100 Fact-Based
Kenya has a very strong overall policy score, consistently scoring well in all areas, particularly its reliance on facts and science on COVID-19.
Kenya is one of the poorest countries in the Index, with a high infant mortality rate and low hospital bed availability, limiting its capacity pre-COVID-19.
- Debt/GDP ratio 60.1%
- GDP/capita $4,078
- Gini coefficient (out of 100) 40.8
- Infant mortality rate (out of 1,000 live births) 31
- Healthcare access score (out of 100) 48.7
- Hospital beds/1,000 People 9.5
Government ResponseSelect a data point for more information
(Data points represent policy level as of Oct 1.)
Public Health Directives
Kenya had strong, early health policy directives pertaining to the pandemic, although its relatively strong score was brought down by limited testing, travel restrictions, and contact tracing.
- Stay at home order 1
- Public gathering restrictions 3
- School closings 2
- Public event cancellations 2
- Testing policy 3
- Emergency healthcare investments/capita $0.00
- Travel restrictions 2
- Tests/1,000 people 10.1
- Contact tracing 2
Kenya’s small stimulus package pushed its financial response score down, although it is still relatively strong, driven by its supportive policy on debt and income assistance.
- Financial stimulus as share of GDP 0.9%
- Income support 1
- Debt forebearance 1
Kenya’s government is very strong in this category, as it has not engaged in misinformation or limited press freedom in response to COVID-19.
- Reliance on science/fact based information 0
- Press freedom 0
COVID-19 Status as of Oct 1
Kenya's in-country pandemic status is very strong, consistently so across all categories, which could have been boosted by its strong restrictions on public interactions.
- Total deaths 711
- Death rate per 100K 13.2
- Total cases 38,529
- Cases per 100K 717
- Percent of positive tests 4.9
- Change in positivity rates -6.1
|1||Apr 27||Restaurants begin to reopen||0.23|
|2||Jul 06||Places of worship (but not Sunday schools or madrassas) begin reopening, with restrictions||4.83|
- Alleged schemes for missing aid: Preliminary research demonstrates that UBI for rural communities that were hit hardest by COVID improve Kenyans' abilities to weather lockdown measures. Read More
- Vaccine trial approved: Pharmacy and Poisons Board approved human trials for a potential vaccine. If approved by the National Commisssion for Science, Technology, and Innovation (Nacosti), the trials will target 400 volunteer healthcare workers. Read More
- Several schemes alleged: $2B in aid has gone missing, and the Network Action Against Corruption (NAAC) has accused KEMSA of embezzling the funds. Read More
- Healthcare workers threaten strike over PPE shortages from corruption: Healthcare workers have threatened a strike over low supplies of PPE during COVID-19, which they claim is due to government corruption. Read More
- New, more humane quarantine guidelines: Kenya launched guidelines for self-isolation for COVID-19 patients, a reversal from its previous policy that forced quarantines of thousands in crowded government facilities with poor sanitation and limited PPE. Read More
- Lockdown devastated informal sector: An estimated 15 million Kenyans work in the informal economy, compared to just 2.9 million formal sector workers. Kenya's lockdown measures, including curfews and travel restrictions, have essentially prevented the majority of workers from conducting trade and earning money. Read More
- Lockdown enforcement turned violent: Kenyan security forces have reportedly whipped and even killed civilians in their enforcement of lockdown measures. Unclear and hastily imposed lockdown measures have provided cover for military and police forces around the world to respond violently to civilians. Read More
Compared with Other African Countries
Per 1M 1,198
Despite having relatively weak pre-pandemic capacity, swift action and prevention-based messaging from the government helped to mitigate spread early on in the crisis; however, Ethiopia faced a notable uptick in cases in August following easing of quarantine restrictions.
Per 1M 301
Ghana scores very strongly on the Index, due primarily to its proactive public health policy, strong examples set by leadership, and reliance on facts, but its financial response was relatively weak, with a minimal stimulus and little income support.
Per 1M 311
Senegal’s COVID-19 policy response has been relatively strong across the board, buoyed by a high degree of preparedness and a reliance on facts and science.
69South Africa 674,339
Per 1M 16,734
South Africa has had a medium policy response, driven by a vigorous lockdown, although its financial response, particularly its relatively small stimulus package, brings its score down. Despite its high score, its limited testing might explain why it is experiencing a spike in cases.
Further Reading From Foreign Policy
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Statistics and government response factors available on each country profile include:
- Debt to GDP ratio
- Infant mortality rates
- Hospital beds per 1,000 people
- Gini coefficients measuring inequality
- Health access and quality
COVID-19 Public Health Directives:
- Stay-at home orders
- School-closing policy
- Public-gathering restrictions
- Cancellation of public events
- Testing policy and rates per 1,000 people
- Emergency healthcare spending per capita
- Travel restrictions
- Contact tracing
COVID-19 Financial Response:
- Stimulus package as a share of GDP
- Income support
- Instances of misinformation by leadership
- Limitations on press freedom, censorship
Current/Historic In-Country COVID-19 Status:
- Death rates per 1 million
- Case rates per 1 million