The Presidency and Cabinet Affairs Office > National Economic and Social Council (NESC)

National Economic and Social Council (NESC)

Background

It is Kenya’s top advisory body to the Government on policies required to accelerate social and economic development of the country. The COUNCIL’S recommendations to the Government are geared towards reforming existing policies or design new ones. Its members are drawn from Government, Private Sector, Civil Society and Academia.

In carrying out its mandate, NESC assesses Government policies for their effectiveness in achieving economic and social transformation; provides a forum for partnership and dialogue for engaging diverse range of stakeholders, especially private and social sector players, for their input into policy recommendations; and mobilizes knowledge and technical resources from relevant knowledge networks, including research and education institutions.

The members serve on three years renewable honorary appointment. The COUNCIL (2004-2008) had 34 members and held 13 meetings.  The second COUNCIL which was constituted in September 2008 had 49 members, about half of whom were Cabinet Ministers. His Excellency, the President is the Chairman, while the then Rt. Hon. Prime Ministers was the 1st alternate Chairman or in his absence the 2nd alternate Chairman is the Minister for Finance. The full COUNCIL meetings consider and make recommendations on strategic policies to the Government Ministries, Departments and various Agencies of government. COUNCIL members may constitute committees to deal with specific policy issue that require specialized attention. Such committees always report to the COUNCIL. The 2nd COUNCIL term expired in 2012, since then, no COUNCIL has been constituted nor their term extended.

In its strategic role of facilitating and fostering policy dialogue on economic and social issues in the country, NESC enjoys special links with a range of stakeholders that includes among others line-Ministers, Development Partners, the Private Sector, the Media, Research Institutions, Professional Groups, and the General Public. It is therefore well-positioned to hold consultative meetings on key issues facing the country whose recommendations could then be discussed by the COUNCIL.

NESC Secretariat

The executive and administrative work of the COUNCIL is the responsibility of a Secretariat which follows up on recommendations and issues raised during its meetings. Under the COUNCIL’S guidance, the Secretariat prepares research papers in partnership with either line-Ministries or top Research Institutions in the country. Work is then presented to the NESC through sub-committees. The COUNCIL establishes ad-hoc sub-committees from time to time on a need basis. Membership of the sub-committees comprises experts from both Public and Private Sectors. As a policy-research and advisory body, NESC also encourages dialogue on research on innovative ideas of economic and social nature that are presented by individuals, researchers or corporate. NESC also organizes information sharing and dissemination workshops, seminars and public lectures.

The Secretariat is headed by Secretary, Dr. Vincent Nyagilo, PhD, EBS with a team of technocrats Directors (Science, Technology, Innovation and Communication; Private Sector, Enablers and Competitiveness; Social Sector; Economic Sectors and their Assistant Directors. There are support staff in various categories.

NESC Sub-Committees

The main tasks of the first COUNCIL were handled by the following eight (8) sub-committees:

  1. Building a Positive Image for Kenya
  2. Integrated Infrastructure Development
  3. Integrated Employment Creation
  4. Nairobi as the Regional Services Hub
  5. Value Addition
  6. Macroeconomic Management
  7. Science, Technology and Innovation
  8. The Kenya Vision 2030

The second COUNCIL established seven (7) sub-committees to handle the following tasks:

  1. Energy
  2. Competitiveness
  3. Leveraging Opportunities in the US-Kenya links
  4. National Industrialization
  5. Global Financial Crisis
  6. Food Security and Water
  7. Housing Development

The COUNCIL uses evidence-based results to develop policy choices to be recommended to the government for consideration and eventual implementation. The activities of the COUNCIL are tracked using the NESC score card and are communicated through annual progress reports

Introduction

The National Economic and Social Council (NESC) was set up under the Office of the President through Gazette notice No. 7699 of September, 2004. Recognizing the development challenges that Kenya had faced in the past, the ERS 2003-2007 was meant to guide the Government’s socio-economic policies for accelerated economic growth and poverty reduction.

To achieve the important development goals that the ERS identified as priorities, the government established NESC to provide an arena for partnership for the making, monitoring and evaluating public policy through public-private partnership in Kenya’s development process.

Economic and Social Councils are increasingly having growing importance and presence globally. A report by United Nations economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and International Association of Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions (AICESIS) highlights that currently there are over eighty-four (84) Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions (ESCs/Sis), which translates to a forty-four per cent (44%) country presence out of the 192 UN member states.

Mandate

The primary mandate of NESC is to advise the Government on strategic policies aimed at promoting economic growth, social equity and employment creation, thereby reducing poverty and inequality.  It is also mandated to offer advice, on request, to the Private Sector and Civil Society and to express professional opinion on development issues.

Functions

The Functions of NESC are;

  • To create forums in which the Government, Private Sector and the Labour Unions can discuss and identify policy issues and recommend to the government implementation of such policies;
  • To gather, analyze and compile information on key economic development trends and to propose policy alternatives that could then be forwarded to the Cabinet with appropriate recommendations;
  • To appraise the various programs and activities of Government, including Investment Programmes for Economic Development, for the purpose of determining the extent to which such programmes and activities contribute to the achievement of Government policy objectives;
  • To develop and recommend to the Cabinet strategic policy interventions that could promote social equity, economic growth, create employment and reduce poverty and inequality.
  • To give its opinion, suggestions and recommendations on any matter or question on which it may be consulted by the Government, the Private Sector or the Civil Society;
  • To improve the impact of strategic policies with an emphasis on the most critical social and economic needs, especially in areas that have direct impact on strengthening the potential of the Private Sector to create employment opportunities and those that address poverty reduction;
  • To utilize the Private Sector and the Civil Society knowledge capacities and synergy through collaboration, engagement and networking, in order to promote efficiency and effectiveness of economic planning process;
  • To liaise with existing Research Institutions, Universities and the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics in the performance of its functions;

Key Achievements of NESC

Since its inauguration in January, 2005, the COUNCIL has advised the Government on policy measures aimed at accelerating the pace of national development. The highlights of these activities are shown below:

  1. Recommendations that have been implemented
  • Conceptualization, development and finalization of the Kenya Vision 2030 leading to the renaming of the Ministry of Planning & National Development to the Ministry of Planning, National Development & vision 2030 and launch of the Vision 2030 on June 10th, 2008.
  • Action on building a positive image for Kenya, locally and internationally, that led to establishment of the Brand Kenya Board, as a state corporation in the Ministry of Information and Communications.
  • Action on making Nairobi a Regional Services-Hub that led to establishment of the Ministry of Nairobi Metropolitan Development in April 2008.
  • Action on the initiation of Science, Technology and Innovation Policy that led to the re-establishment of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology in April 2008.
  • Action on the initiation of Integrated Employment Creation that led to establishment of the Youth Fund, Kazi Kwa Vijana etc.
  • Advised on the reconstitution of the Monetary Policy Advisory Committee of the Central Bank of Kenya.
  • Advised and co-sponsored the introduction of Infrastructure Bonds in Kenya as an alternative means of financing Infrastructure Projects in Kenya.
  1. Concluded Reports/Studies
  • Infrastructure Bonds Report
  • Unemployment in Kenya: The Situational Analysis
  • Growth, Poverty and Inequality in Kenya: Suggested Policy Interventions
  • Communication Policy and Strategy Framework for NESC
  • Guidelines for Publication & Dissemination of NESC Papers
  • Institutions, Decentralization and Structural Transformation in Eastern Africa

Contacts:

 

THE SECRETARY, NATIONAL ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL

Post Office Box 62345- 00200 Nairobi, Kenya.

Telephone: +254 020-2713199 or 254 020-2713177 Ext. 1601

Physical Location

National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) Building, 16th Floor