Blogs

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Blogs
November 2020

The Financial diaries: A glimpse into how scarcity shapes life in Kenya

The year 2020 will undoubtedly go down in history as the point in time when COVID-19 paralysed the world. From the moment the pandemic gripped the world around March 2020, it has drawn significant comparison to past pandemics and even world wars for its assault on human lives, health security and the global economy. In […]

Blogs
November 2020

Investors and Indigents: Divergent trajectories of Kenyans in the COVID era

As we completed a new round of COVID-19 Diaries interviews in mid-October, we noticed a shift in the story of economic hardship.  Our sample went from nearly everyone struggling in June to a marked divergence in economic realities, with some not just beginning to recover, but finding new ways to invest and grow in the […]

Blogs
November 2020

How are things now? Summary of September/October COVID Diaries Findings

Between 7 September and 14 October, our team spoke with 207 participants from the Kenya Financial Diaries, tracing the ways COVID-19 was impacting their lives.  Since our previous round of calls in June, we saw some improvements in economic well being on average, particularly in Nairobi, where the economic contraction caused by COVID-19 had hard-hit […]

Blogs
November 2020

Finance bends; will it break?

On average, families in the Kenya Financial Diaries started to see improvements in their economic situation as of October 2020, but incomes are still far from normal. The protracted financial strain for large numbers of people has strained formal and informal finance alike.  Digital lenders cut new lending, banks rescheduled loans, MFIs faced both an […]

Blogs
November 2020

A bridge too far? Paying for school in an economic crisis

Parents across Kenya are receiving ambiguous messages about the timing of school re-openings amid the coronavirus outbreak.  While parents are eager for their secondary school children, in particular, to get back in the classroom, few low-income Kenyans have a plan for how they will pay, considering their depleted resources and the level of debt they […]

Blogs
November 2020

“Maybe someone is out there fighting for you.”

In this series of mini-interviews, researchers and respondents in the Kenya Financial Diaries reflect on their experiences.  Hear more from them at the launch of Living on Little at the FSD Kenya Annual lecture on November 19th, 2020. Register here to follow the event from the comfort of your home, office or mobile device.  Agatha, Mombasa Nekesa (Researcher): Can you please tell us […]

Blogs
November 2020

Kenya launches the Year of Climate Action (#YoCaKenya)

On the morning of November 3rd, 2020, I was honoured to be part of the launch of the Year of Climate Action in Kenya (#YoCaKenya) at Karura Forest, alongside UK Deputy High Commissioner to Kenya Julius Court; Dr. Chris Kiptoo, Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Environment and Forestry; Dr. Patrick Njoroge, Governor of the […]

Blogs
October 2020

From financial inclusion to inclusive finance: The power of frameworks to catalyse change

In this age of information, we increasingly rely on data to inform our decisions. But it is not just the data itself which is important for decision making. The utility of data for policy and investment very much depends on the paradigms and frameworks which guide our thinking and inform our questions. In the words […]

Blogs
October 2020

COVID-19 impact-recovery pathways for the economy: Features and implications

As COVID-19 continues to ravage economies across the world, a key point of emerging macroeconomic focus is its variated impact at sectoral level. From a bird’s eye view, results of GDP Q2 were stark in Africa, including in its two  largest economies; South Africa’s GDP contracted by 51%; and Nigeria‘s by 6.1%. Kenya is yet […]

Blogs
September 2020

Njoroge’s story: How Kenya’s informal economy is struggling in the shadow of COVID-19 and graft

After several years of “hustling,” my friend Njoroge saved money enough to construct his own little fruit shack in the Hurlingham suburb of Nairobi.  He painted his kiosk orange and green colours to give it a tropical feel and was always ready with an easy smile for his local and expat customers in the fairly […]