Informal workers propped up the country’s economy—until they were suddenly struggling to survive.
- 53.7 Public Health
- 48.1 Financial
- 100 Fact-Based
Kenya has a strong overall policy score, although down significantly from January. However, it is consistently scoring well in all areas, particularly its reliance with respect to 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 Mar 15.)
Public Health Directives
Kenya scores above the median, but limited testing, relaxed travel restrictions, and poor contact tracing drove its score down over the past few months.
- Stay at home order 2
- Public gathering restrictions 2
- School closings 1
- Public event cancellations 2
- Testing policy 2
- Emergency healthcare investments/capita $0.00
- Travel restrictions 1
- Tests/1,000 people 23.9
- Contact tracing 2
Kenya is still providing debt and income support to help address COVID-19, but its score has decreased since January, driven down mainly by its relatively weak stimulus package.
- Financial stimulus as share of GDP 0.9%
- Income support 0
- 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 Mar 15
Through aggressive policy implementation, Kenya has continued to keep its case and death rates relatively low.
- Total deaths 686
- Death rate per 100K 12.8
- Total cases 113,967
- Cases per 100K 6
- Percent of positive tests 6.5
- Change in positivity rates +3
|1||Apr 27||Restaurants begin to reopen||0.15|
|2||Jul 06||Places of worship (but not Sunday schools or madrassas) begin reopening, with restrictions||3.37|
|3||Jul 15||Domestic flights resumed||8.57|
|4||Aug 01||International flights resumed||13.52|
|5||Aug 11||Places of worship allow services to go for 90 minutes||9.24|
|6||Nov 04||Bars, restaurants must close by 9 pm||27.78|
|7||Nov 27||Wedding sizes capped at 50 people, 100 people cap at funerals (but only 15 at gravesite)||28.90|
|8||Jan 04||Schools fully re-opened||1.97|
- New vaccine doses from COVAX: Kenya received one million new COVID-19 vaccine doses in the first batch from the COVAX Initiative, which aims to provide equitable access to vaccines around the world. Read More
- New Kenyan variant: Scientists in Kenya found a new variant that differs from the South Africa and UK variant. Researchers and investigators at this time state that the variant will not have an impact on the effectivness of new COVID-19 vaccines. Read More
- First recession since 2000: Kenya's economy fell into its first recession since 2000, due to economic restrictions from COVID-19; GDP fell 1.1 percent over the past year and contracted for a second straight quarter. Read More
- Teenage pregnancies rise as schools shut down: There has been a rise in teenage pregnancies in parts of Kenya as schools shut down due to the pandemic, a serious concern given the death rates from pregnancy and childbirth for young girls. Read More
- Violent policing during curfew: Fifteen people were killed, and many others injured by violent police enforcement of the lockdown in Kenya, resulting in legal action to hold the government accountable. Read More
- Rapid testing of truck drivers helps economic recovery: With help from the IOM, Kenyan truck drivers have been getting rapid COVID-19 tests, helping to reinvigorate cross-border trade, which had slowed down substantially. 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
Compared with Other African Countries
Per 1M 1,355
Despite having relatively weak pre-pandemic capacity, swift action and prevention-based messaging from the government helped mitigate spread early on in the crisis.
Per 1M 217
Ghana scores strongly on the Index, due primarily to its proactive public health policy, strong examples set by leadership, and reliance on facts; while consistently strong, it does have very weak testing, limited emergency healthcare spending, and a weak stimulus.
Per 1M 148
Senegal’s COVID-19 policy response has been very strong across the board, buoyed by strong public health directives and a reliance on science and facts.
71.5South Africa 1,530,033
Per 1M 1,190
Overall, South Africa's score is relatively strong with vigorous policy implementation—particularly with respect to lockdowns—offset by its relatively meager financial response.
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