The origin of the Ministry of State for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030 pre-dates Kenya’s independence. Its history can be traced to the Oliver Little Constitution of 1954, when the Ministry of Finance and Development was created. On attainment of independence on 12th December 1963 it was renamed the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development, with three divisions or units that included, Administration, Statistics, and Planning. Since then, the Ministry has existed either as a fully-fledged ministry or a division of the Ministry of Finance and Planning. Its mandate has also continued to expand over time.

Despite the lack of consistency in the placement of the Ministry, the core functions have remained basically the same. The successive revisions to the ministerial mandates have not only been made necessary due to the various emerging development issues, but also due to important regional and international collaborative arrangements. Similarly, changes in political administration and dispensation have equally necessitated changes in the mandate in order to conform to the development aspirations of the government of the day. As part of these developments, the ministry now serves as a parent ministry to several Semi-Autonomous Agencies of Government (SAGAs) and one liaison office for a Pan African body-the NEPAD. The ministry is also poised to facilitate the co-ordination of the implementation of Kenya Vision 2030, through the newly established Vision Delivery Secretariat (VDS).

The many years of development planning have yielded several crucial lessons in policy formulation and management in Kenya with the first one being the realisation that macroeconomic stability is an essential prerequisite for achieving the kind of growth needed for development. The second lesson has been that the benefits of growth do not instantaneously trickle down or spread across regions, and as such, development must therefore address human needs more directly. Indeed, this means that development requires targeting, in order to achieve desirable results. A third lesson has been the realisation that no single policy will trigger development and therefore a multifaceted planning approach is needed. The fourth and important lesson has concerned the primacy of institutions and that, indeed, they are now considered as key agents of effective development. The fifth lesson recognises that monitoring and evaluation are also critical for development. Yet, perhaps, the single most important lesson during the implementation of the Economic Recovery Strategy (ERS) has been that the government as whole needs to be focused in order achieve desired goals, with other players, such as the Private Sector also being roped in to provide the necessary support.

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