Desk research by ActionAid Kenya International has found that Kenya’s reliance on a $2.34 billion IMF loan has led to the IMF introducing and imposing conditionalities to the government of Kenya, including tax policy changes, scrapping fuel subsidies, and fiscal
adjustments aimed at consolidating resources to repay the IMF debts. This has contributed to increased charges for government services, higher electricity tariffs, and financial strain on citizens.
According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), prices across sectors have surged significantly, with transport costs rising by 13.1%, and the food and non-alcoholic beverages sector witnessing a 7.5% increase between August 2022 and August 2023. This inflationary pressure, compounded by climate change-induced prolonged droughts, has severely disrupted Kenya’s agricultural sector, leading to water scarcity, reduced crop yields, and livestock losses.
The current food crisis is a result of several factors, including drought following a sixth failed rain season. The increasing intensity and shorter cycles between droughts have affected crop yields for five consecutive seasons. Pastoralist communities have also lost substantial numbers of livestock due to malnutrition. Simultaneously, the scarcity and soaring prices of imported food have further strained the availability of essential nutrition for the population.This combination has left many Kenyans at risk of malnutrition and food insecurity.Women and girls are disproportionally affected by multiple crises that impact their food intake, education, their right to live free from child marriage, and their mental health and wellbeing.
Amidst these challenges, ActionAid International Kenya, in collaboration with partners across the country worked together to initiate a people-driven solution to the issue of high cost of living in the country. The initiative dubbed People’s Assembly on the Cost of Living in Kenya, aimed to facilitate broad dialogue to discuss the high cost of living, collate community demands, and bring parliamentarians face-to-face with citizens to address the skyrocketing cost of living in kenya.
The People’s Assembly activities culminated into a People’s National Economic Recovery Conference where citizens, CSOs held discussions on the cost of living and in unison presented their resolutions to the government. Among the resolutions is for the government to follow the constitution and make life bearable to Kenyans by addressing the high cost of living.