Working Paper
The politics of scaling up social protection in Kenya

Literature on social protection in Kenya shows progress in implementation of cash transfers but not the social health insurance scheme. With a dearth of explanation for this contrasting promotion of social protection, this paper examines the role of Kenya’s political settlement and the interests of donors.

It argues that whereas the competitive clientelist political settlement is conducive to the supply-oriented cash transfer programmes, it is averse to the demand-oriented social health insurance scheme that requires clients to contribute and also threatens the market interests of donors. The paper therefore concludes that the scaling up of social protection is dependent on the convergence between the clientelist interests of politicians and the motivations of donors.