Regional Development Inequalities in Kenya: Can Devolution Succeed Where Other Strategies Failed?

Adoyo Laji

Abstract


Regional development planning strategies are often applied to reduce and in the long run eliminate major inequalities and disparities among regions. Since independence, the government of Kenya has employed numerous regional development planning strategies with the aim of addressing the worsening trend of spatial inequalities. These strategies include growth centre strategy, service centre strategy, District Focus for Rural Development and Rural Trade and Production Centers among others. Nonetheless, the effort of the government to create balanced regional development in all parts of the country has not borne any fruit. Instead, the country is still grappling with a dual spatial system characterized by polarized and unequal development in favour of those regions that had comparative advantage at independence. The introduction of the devolved system of governance, however, heralds the optimism that regional spatial inequalities would gradually be addressed. This paper explores the origin and dynamics of regional disparities and unbalanced development in Kenya and thereafter interrogates the potential of devolution in promoting balanced development of the various regions in the country. A desk study approach was used in undertaking this study. It was established that with devolution, there has been a marked increase in funds available for development in various regions of the country. As such, it offers the potential to redress the hitherto unbalanced regional development in Kenya.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijrd.v6i1.14547

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