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Rethinking Public Policy: A Kenyan Perspective

  Feb 10, 2017

Can good policies salvage market and government failures in the provision of quality and efficient products? How does the interplay between policy, public governance and market performance boost efficiency?

Kenya’s policy making scene has been falling short on proper implementation, an element often quoted as the country’s pitfall for efficiency. Policy choices and decisions affect every aspect of daily life including education, energy, legal systems, healthcare and national security. The Government must design policies that put the economy on the road to productivity and puts the interests of its citizens first. Public sector management is rapidly gaining interest, a niche study area for all disciplines. Dr. Thomas Kibua shares insights on this during the Masters in Public Policy open class session.

Sectoral Interconnectedness

The macro economic framework of Kenya is subdivided into four interconnected groups. These sections are divided on the following accounts: Public Sector which includes public policy, revenues & expenditures and public debt. The financial sector includes banking, financial institutions, insurance and capital markets. Productive sector includes agriculture, manufacturing and energy, with the fourth macroeconomic group being the international sector which includes exports and imports.

The symbiotic relationship between the various sectors requires policy analysts to understand the interconnectedness of the economy and that the decisions made in one sector will affect other sectors. Overall malfunction, imperfection or mismanagement in any of these sectors has ramifications to the rest of the system.

Market Failures

Ideally, well-functioning markets have a good flow of demand and supply. The concept of market failure depicts the contrast of a perfectly competitive environment where there is a constant flow of demand and supply, consumers are cognisant of their welfare and producers are maximizing on profits. Which in most instances is very rare.

Markets fail because of the inequalities in the flow of demand and supply and hence the government has to intervene to neutralize the imbalance.

The provision of public goods is taken care of by the government ensuring control to unhealthy competition, control of wasteful duplication of services and citizens’ needs are met.

Roles of government in the economy   

  • Allocation function by cultivating equality.
  • Distribution of income across all societal levels.
  • Macroeconomic stabilization by ensuring that the country’s growth trajectory is healthy with a conducive business environment
  • The coordination of services and economic activities

Pillars of Governance

  • Economic governance and Management: Provision of macroeconomic policies that support sustainable development.
  • Democratic and Political Governance: Being able to choose and provide oversites. Prevention of interstate conflicts and achieving constitutional consensus.
  • Corporate Governance: Promoting an enabling environment for economic activities, good governance and adherence to social responsibility. How does adopting good business ethics affect the well-being of market proficiencies and the growth of the economy.
  • Investment in Sustainable Development Goals

About Dr. Thomas Kibua

Dr Thomas Kibua is a renowned expert in development economics, governance and management (including public finance management and institution building). He has consulted for and worked with government, private sector, non-governmental organizations and international organizations working in economic management. He is the Director in charge of Academic Programmes in the Strathmore Institute of Public Policy and Governance (SIPPG). Click here to read Dr. Kibua’s full profile

About the Masters in Public Policy Management

The Master in Public Policy and Management program is designed to develop the general management skills of results-oriented professionals in the public sector and non-governmental organizations with reasonable career experience. The program lays emphasis on the following key dimensions of applied business practice: critical and strategic thinking, an integrated view of the organization across the various functions, organizational leadership and change management, personal and organizational ethics, and communication. Further emphasis is given to the human person as the subject of economic activity, in the various roles as the leader and the led. Click here to read more about the program.

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